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Panel forwards amended sign ordinance to county

One year after it was officially adopted by the county, an amended version of the sign ordinance waits to be approved by the Harrison County Board of Commissioners.
The county’s advisory plan commission voted 5-1 Thursday night to send the amended ordinance on for approval.
‘Like I said last time, it’s not a one-size-fits-all,’ said Victor McCauley, plan commission chair.
The sign ordinance was adopted last year, replacing a generic one from the mid-1970s. Residents were given a grace period through Jan. 6 to file for a sign permit, for free. That deadline was extended almost another month after a flurry of requests during the first week of the new year.
Because of public outcry over the ordinance ‘ none of which occurred during the time public input had been requested ‘ the plan commission agreed to revise it, addressing as many of the concerns as possible.
Eric Wise, the county planner, who drafted the revised ordinance, said he was not aware of anyone taking the time to review the changes, although copies were available in the planning and zoning office for that reason.
And, the number of citizens showing up at meetings to voice opinions about the ordinance dropped from a roomful to one. Bob Adams was the only resident who attended last week’s meeting, and he offered no comment, although he had been vocally opposed to the ordinance that was adopted last year.
Jim Klinstiver, who moved to send the revised ordinance to the county commissioners, said he wanted it noted that no one took the opportunity to speak about it. Adrienne Rich seconded his motion.
‘For the record, if anybody wants to come in here and do something different (from what’s in the ordinance), all they have to do is request a variance, right?’ Klinstiver asked the staff.
Wise reaffirmed Klinstiver’s belief.
Klinstiver further stated he supports imposing a $15 permit fee.
‘We’ve already given them two deadlines,’ he said. ‘It’s not fair to those who came in’ and got the permit during the grace period.
‘I also don’t think it’s fair we’ve grandfathered in those old signs,’ said Carl (Buck) Mathes, who cast the lone nay vote.
McCauley said he agreed with both Klinstiver and Mathes.
‘I think attrition will take care of those things,’ McCauley said.
The county commissioners will consider the revised ordinance at their meeting Monday night, which starts at 7:30 in the Commissioners’ Room of the Harrison County Court House.
In other business last week, the plan commission forwarded three special exception requests to the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals. They were made by:
* Georgia South, 1685 Wiseman Road, Corydon, for a boat motor repair business.
* Debbie Cobb, 7505 Darrell Ave. in Franklin Township, for a temporary home.
* Katherine Forsythe, 6155 Union Chapel Road, Corydon, for a temporary home.
The BZA meets July 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room.
The plan commission also finalized its budget request for 2006. Including the budget for the E-911 coordinator, it totals $272,228.
A work session was scheduled for July 21. Topics for discussion include whether a permit should be required for the installation of scales, possibly creating an ordinance regarding steep slopes, and further discussion on a proposed ordinance that defines ‘public’ and ‘private’ garages as well as more debate whether a special exception permit should be for the applicant only or assigned to the property.
The plan commission’s next regular meeting is set for Thursday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the courthouse.