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City Board 5-1-18: Contentious discussion of sign ordinance commenting plans

Some aldermen "do not want to be here all night" allowing citzens to speak their mind on sign ordinance

city board 5-1-18 Trees recently planted along Park Plaza Drive.

City Board 5-1-18:  The New Albany city board intends to limit each speaker to just five minutes during a June hearing about the new sign ordinance.

During its Tuesday, May 1st meeting, the Board of Aldermen set a hearing on the long-awaited new sign ordinance for June 5, 2018. The hearing will be included in the board’s regular June meeting date.

Debating the rules of discussion

The proposed new sign ordinance is 10,000 words and 23 pages in length. It is set in small type (10 point) and is single-spaced.

First Ward Alderwoman Amy Livingston heads the group that has been working on the new ordinance for most of a year. Livingston brought up the need for doing something about the troublesome 2006 sign ordinance during the first meeting of her term of office in July, 2017. By consent of the board, she was authorized to develop a new sign ordinance.

The draft of the new ordinance has gone through many changes during the last several months.  Discussion of its provisions have, according to city hall sources, sometimes been contentious. Some citizens are concerned about several provisions of the new ordinance. has reported on some of the possible problems.

The board’s announced intention of limiting citizens to just five minutes of speaking time to analyze and point out problems with the new 10,000-word sign ordinance was challenged during the Monday night meeting. New Albany businessman Terry Young said he has read each of several drafts of the new ordinance very carefully and has put together a fairly extensive critique of potential problems and fallacies. He told the board he needed considerably more than five minutes of speaking time during the hearing to address the subject.

Alderwoman Livingston said she had put a lot of time into developing the new ordinance and that she opposes allowing more speaking time in the meeting for each citizen who wants to criticize the work. “I don’t want us to be here all night,” she said.

Young agreed to make a digital copy of his critique available to the aldermen, but insisted that he intended to speak his mind during the hearing and would need more than five minutes. There was no resolution of the matter of limiting speaking time during the Monday meeting.

Who knew about the trees & when did they know it?

In another contentious matter, Second Ward Alderman Johnny Anderson said he has received complaints about problems with the many small pin oak trees that have been planted during the recent week along both sides of Park Plaza Drive.

Anderson said Park Plaza Drive is in his Second Ward and he knew nothing about the trees being planted until the work of planting them was started. He said the board had never authorized the trees to be planted there. Alderwoman Livingston, Alderman-at-Large Keith Conlee and Fourth Ward Alderman Will Tucker also said they were told nothing in advance about the trees being planted along Park Plaza Drive.

The trees are planted about ten feet from the edge of the asphalt pavement.

Among the problems mentioned during the Monday night meeting is the likelihood that the tree roots would heave up and damage the pavement as the trees grow. It was also pointed out that the trees would interfere with the visibility of the many retail businesses along Park Plaza and that the two lane street already needs to be widened to at least three lanes, which would require the trees to be moved.

It was unclear from what was said during the board meeting as to how, why and by whom the decision was made to plant dozens of trees so close to the two-lane street. will inquire into the matter of the pin oak plantings during the next few days and intends to report further to its readers as information is developed.

Part-time residential occupancy, warning sirens repair

Bettye Thornton and Paul Henry made personal appearances during the Monday night meeting regarding their request that “part-time residential occupancy” be allowed in a portion of a commercial building Mrs. Thornton owns on Highway 15. The building is also the location of a package liquor store operated by Henry. The board agreed to set a public hearing to resolve the issues raised by the request.

New Albany Lights Gas and Water General Manager Bill Mattox told the board that parts have been received to repair the city’s storm warning sirens and that he expected the work to be completed during the next several days.


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