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City Board 7-3-18: New city sign ordinance approved

City Board 7-3-18 The New Albany Cracker Barrel's 100 foot tall sign will be "grandfathered" under the city's new sign ordinance.

After working on it for most of a year, the New Albany Board of Aldermen approved a new sign ordinance at the City Board 7-3-18 meeting.

First Ward Alderwoman Amy Livingston declared during the first board meeting after her election that she would be working to change the city’s sign ordinance.

A working group consisting of Livingston, City Attorney Regan Russell, Code Enforcement Officer Eric Thomas and others started drafting a new ordinance about eight months ago.

Although she was not physically present Tuesday evening, Livingston participated in the meeting via cellular telephones, and it was she who made to the motion to enact the new ordinance.

The old sign ordinance, passed in 2006, had been a source of problems for city government from the time it went on the books.

During the Tuesday meeting, New Albany businessman Terry Young said he believed the provision in the new sign ordinance limiting the height of signs along Interstate 22 to just 50 feet was too restrictive and would be detrimental to local businesses. The old ordinance allowed such signs to be 100 foot high. The Cracker Barrel restaurant sign is 100 feet high. Discussion resulted in a compromise height of 75 feet and the ordinance was unanimously passed with that revision.

In other business, Billye Jean Stroud, who is manager of the Main Street Association and also serves as the city’s marketing officer, said motor vehicle traffic to and from the Riverview Stage at the Park-Along-the-River created a danger during events such as the recent Freedom Celebration. Stroud said vehicles driving along the bank of the Tallahatchie River are hazardous to people attending the entertainment events. She said a new road to the stage was needed to alleviate that danger. There was some discussion of building a road on the east side of the seating area. However, at the instigation of Fourth Ward Alderman Will Tucker, the board agreed to defer action until a future meeting.

Minerva Graham, who operates the Rainbow Learning Center daycare on South Central Avenue, told the board she intends to construct an addition to the her building. The present structure is a metal building, which was allowed under the city code when it was built. However, revisions in the building code now require a non-metal facade on buildings. Graham asked the board for a variance so she can construct the addition with the same materials and style as the existing building. The board voted unanimously to grant the variance.

Code Enforcement Officer Eric Thomas asked the board to move forward with condemning and tearing down a dilapidated house at 1100 Pebblewood Street. Thomas said the roof and floors of the unoccupied building are collapsing and that it is unsafe. He said that the owners had been notified and had indicated to him that they do not intend trying to repair the house. The aldermen voted unanimously to condemn the building and to tear it down if nothing is done within 30 days to bring it up to code.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be Tuesday, August 7th, 2018.

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