April 24, 2014

Planning commission sets sign code proposal aside for now

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Planning commissioners reluctantly set aside plans to make changes to the city of Gardner’s sign regulations.
Amy Kynard, city planner, told commissioners the sign code revisions could be reconsidered once the city council completes its visioning process. The council began a visioning process shortly after hiring city administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee in July.
The planning commission began hammering out details for proposed sign code changes almost a year ago.
“I’m not sure why visioning process has much to do with sign regulations,” commissioner Dan Popp said. “It probably behooves our commission to make sure this stays at the forefront.”
Members of a sign committee, which included city planners, consultants and business owners, began meeting in last March, and commissioners examined a rough draft of a proposed sign code in April.
The purpose of the proposed code would be to provide “minimum standards intended to promote and protect the public health, safety and welfare and to safeguard property and property values by regulating and controlling the quality of materials, construction, installation and maintenance in addition to the number, size, sign type and illumination pertaining to signs,” an introduction to the code reads.
City planner Amy Kynard said she hopes the process will pick up where it was left.
“It’s something we desperately need,” she told commissioners. “…I have no intention of letting this fall off the radar.”
The city is in transition, she explained.
In addition to the council’s visioning process, the city is in the process of hiring a community development director who would work closely with the planning commission. More than 130 people applied for the role, but Kynard said she isn’t certain where officials are in the hiring process.
Commissioners were close to final wording on sign code changes, commissioner Jason Burnett said.
“This has been on our agenda for six-to-nine months. I understand putting it on the shelf for a little while, but I don’t want to let it sit there too long,” Burnett said.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved a final plat for the new USD 231 elementary school and middle school campus.
• tabled the discussion of a site plan for First Light Church, to be located near the intersection of Santa Fe/175th Street and Poplar Street.
The next planning commission meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 at Gardner City Hall.

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