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Will no one rid New Albany of its troublesome sign hell?

At the conclusion of a four-hour meeting Tuesday evening, the New Albany Board of Aldermen decided not to decide. They missed another opportunity to free the city from sign hell.

The city’s 2006 sign ordinance is a veritable hell that has caused the city’s aldermen much gnashing of teeth in recent years. The sign ordinance was the source of still more Undivine Comedy Tuesday evening. (Apologies, of course, to Dante Alighieri.)

In this week’s canto, the sign in question is the one proposed for the new multi-million-dollar Internal Medicine and Pediatric Clinic (IM&PC) building, nearing completion at the intersection of Oxford Road and Fairfield Drive. Nanewsweb.com has already reported on the origins of IM&PC’s travails.

The members of the city’s zoning board, a creature of the Board of Aldermen, already stated unanimously that they liked the proposed sign, but believed it did not conform to their interpretation of the sign hell ordinance. All five of the aldermen Tuesday evening also said they liked the sign, and wished they could allow it. However, although they wrestled with the matter for about 60% of Tuesday’s four-hour meeting, the aldermen again failed to claw their way out of the their own sign purgatory.

The problem could have been resolved by simply granting a variance for the IM&PC sign. But the aldermen couldn’t bring themselves to do it. The main excuse was that, if they granted a variance for the IM&PC sign, they would have to deal with, perhaps find relief for, several other businesses, which have been abused over the years by the poorly drafted ordinance. No kidding!!

First Ward Alderman Amy Livingston said she and others are working on ways to revise the admittedly vacuous sign ordinance. There seemed to be consensus that the revised ordinance should allow signs such as that proposed by IM&PC. The board even considered several versions of a motion to grant a variance for the IM&PC sign, to be effective January 2, 2018 — if the board fails to adequately revise the sign ordinance by then. (No, I am not making this stuff up!)

Not one alderman would make the motion to do what the board has the power to do, namely to grant the IM&PC variance, effective immediately.

This was the “solution”: the aldermen agreed to adjourn and to take the matter up again in another meeting next Monday, September 11th (911). Now, isn’t that an appropriately ghoulish date to address New Albany’s petty, but troublesome, sign disaster?

For more information and opinion on this issue see:  Zoning Board passes on sign issue   and  Time for courage and common sense

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