SIDNEY — The Sidney City Planning Commission approved one request but denied the other during its Monday meeting.
The commission voted down by a 4-1 vote the zoning code amendment requested of John Kirirah, owner of Kenjoh Outdoor Advertising, to allow an off-premises sign with greater sign area and height for highway oriented signs, commonly known as a billboard.
Sidney’s current regulations limit off-premises sign size to 400-square-feet and sign height to 40 feet measured from the pavement of the adjacent highway. Kirirah requested an amendment to allow off-premises signs with a sign area of 800-square-feet and a height of 60 feet for those signs oriented to Interstate 75.
During the public hearing for comments on the request, no one from the public, including Kirirah, spoke in favor of or against the request.
Barbara Dulworth, community development director, recommended for commission members to deny Kirirah’s request. She noted that “off-premises signs are restricted at the federal, state, and local level because they can become a dangerous visual distraction for motorists and negatively impact the attractiveness of the community.” She also pointed out that the comprehensive plan the city adopted in 2017 “includes goals and strategies to improve the visual impact of the city through modification of zoning to disallow the use of billboards.”
She told the commission that although Kirirah gives examples in other communities’ interstate sign zoning codes, when the city staff researched theses regulations, staff found that the “majority of prohibits or strictly limits off-premises signs.” She noted that “the recommended codes may have different regulations for highway-oriented signs, they are for on-premises signs only.”
One off-premises sign on I-75, advertising the Sidney Shelby Economic Partnership, that is over the size limits was mentioned, but it was noted that it is allowed because of a Grandfather Clause.
Commission member Patricia Miller voted against the motion to deny the request because she didn’t feel that the requested increase of signage area would make that much of a difference for drivers on I-75.
The other request before the commission, however, was granted. Loves Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. requested for the approval of the dedication of 0.333 acres of right of way for Vandemark Road, south of Fair Road, to ensure Vandemark Road has the required width for constructing the street and utilities for Loves’ development.
The property, owned by Shelby County, is adjacent to Vandemark Road. Shelby County commissioners approved the right-of-way dedication prior to Monday’s meeting.
Dulworth said the right-of-way will have a total width of 85 feet, which is adequate width for a secondary thoroughfare. She said the street improvements on Vandemark Road will ensure the street is adequately sized and engineered to handle the Love’s expected truck traffic. The remaining parcel is undeveloped, she said, with a remaining acreage of 7.305, and has adequate acreage for future development.
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