|Council nods sign ordinance|
|Wednesday, August 6, 2008|
By CONNIE ESH
About 40 people turned out in support of and opposed to an amendment to an ordinance that would prohibit electronic signs in several business zones at Tuesday night’s regular Lebanon City Council meeting.
Council approved the measure on first reading.
Bob O’Brien spoke for about 40 people who were there supporting the ordinance, and Gary Andover, owner of Witt Signs, asked the council to consider amending the ordinance to allow churches and schools to have the signs regardless of where they were located.
The council rejected Andover’s proposal after Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry pointed out that churches and schools are difficult to define and are allowed to locate anywhere in the city.
Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer pointed out that signage was only one problem presented by zoning areas next to residential zones as B-1.
That zoning, he said, allows hospitals, motels, music stores and liquor stores among other uses. “At least I was pleased to see it doesn’t allow drive-in restaurants.”
And it only requires 10 feet of landscaping in the front of the building. “The sign ordinance solves one problem, but zoning is another one,” Farmer said.
Warmth also noted that banning the electronic signs in certain zones doesn’t entirely solve the problem. “This will not stop with this,” she said after the council adjourned. “We will look at brightness and after-dark effects of signs next to residential areas.”
In other business, Mayor Don Fox and Steve Wheelie of Statesville got into a verbal sparring match over the proposed Bible Park USA during the citizens comments section of the meeting, with both men saying the other was an instrument of the devil.
Wheelie started out by saying he appreciated the mayor being honest and admitting the reason he wanted the park to come to Wilson County was because it would make money.
He then questioned the religious affiliations and the morals of the men proposing the park, and questioned the morality of making money from the Bible.
“These are not men whose character should be associated with the Bible,” Wheelie said.
Fox pointed out that publishers like Zondervan also “make money from the Bible” and asked if he intended to protest against them, too.
Wheelie responded by saying since the same group proposing the Bible Park has built the Hard Rock Theme Park in South Carolina they are involved with pornography, gambling and rock and roll.
“Satan is using him to prevent people from being exposed to the Bible, and he doesn’t even know it,” Fox said.
The council also refused all bids on the old City Fire Hall Number Two. The bids were $100,000 by Jerry Dean, $115,000 by Cliff Carey and $252,109 by Mike Slarve.
Warmath made the motion to deny, noting she thought the property would increase in value as soon as Hartmann Drive is widened.
She and Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler both said they thought the council had requested an update of the assessment of the property value before any bids were accepted.
Public Works Commissioner Jeff Baines explained that the two trucks would cost about the same amount as one larger truck would and that he expected to save about $3,000 per year on fuel.
The discussion of employee coffee and snacks was removed from the agenda, because Fox said he had already set an enforceable limit on spending for the items.
It had been noted at the July 15 council meeting that a recent city audit showed the city had paid more than $25,000 to provide various food and drinks for employees at the taxpayers’ expense.