New Albany Aldermen have been asked to grant a zoning variance for the new sign designed to be placed at a medical clinic nearing completion on Oxford Road.
Warren Miconi, of Miconi Project Management, Oxford, MS, project manager for the new 18,000-square foot Internal Medicine and Pediatric Clinic (IM&PC), appeared before the New Albany Zoning Board on Monday, July 31. Four zoning board members were present: Chairman Herbert Kidd, Bill Kitchens, Greg Robbins and Malcolm still. Not present were Cheryl Brewer, Mark Garrett and Rick Robbins.
Miconi showed the zoning board drawings for a new sign to be placed in front of the building. The design is what is called a “monument sign” in the 2006 city ordinance regulating outdoor advertising.
The eleven year old ordinance allows monument signs to be no more than eight feet wide and six feet tall. The ordinance also forbids such signs to be “internally lighted,” but states that “spotlights may be used.”
The design Miconi showed the zoning board is two feet wider than the ordinance allows and is internally lighted. He told the zoning board that the sign’s size is appropriate in scale to the size of the building and that the lighting source utilizes recent technology that avoids any gaudy or garish appearance. He said the electronic message board on the sign will provide useful information to the public, such as advising of the availability of various inoculations or other useful health information.
Each of the four members present said they liked the appearance of sign, thought it would be appropriate, but they did not believe they have the authority to grant variances for the size and internal lighting.
Each board member was asked if he would have any objection if the Board of Aldermen grants the variance. Each said he would have no objection if the aldermen permit the sign.
“I think it’s a great looking sign,” said Bill Kitchens. However, he said, “I don’t see how we can grant permission for an internally lit sign. I’d have to be against it.”
Malcolm Still said, “I think it would look great.”
Chairman Kidd, while expressing his own admiration for the design, said, “We don’t have any choice in the matter.” Kidd added, “I think this sign ordinance needs to be looked at.” Later, he told NAnewsweb.com, “It (the 2006 ordnance) needs a lot of work. It’s going to take the Board of Aldermen to make the changes.”
The consensus seemed to be that the zoning board members would like to approve the sign, but did not believe they had the authority to grant a variance.
The zoning board is entirely a creature of the Board of Aldermen and has no authority except that given to it by the aldermen. The aldermen have full legal authority to grant variances. The sign ordinance has been the subject of several controversial actions — and inactions — during recent years.
Some Board of Aldermen members have indicated a desire to make revisions in the ordinance. First Ward Alderman, Amy Livingston, is said to be working on changes to make the sign ordinance more up-to-date, more clearly stated and more equitable.
Dr. Eric Harding founded IM&PC in 2003. Dr. Shane Scott joined the practice in 2004. Two additional physicians recently joined the practice. As a part of this expansion, IM&PC plans to add 30 professional employees to their team.
For more information on the sign ordinance and its problems, see:
Theatre of the adsurd: http://nanewsweb.com/signs-in-new-albany-theatre-of-the-absurd/
New Albany Renaissance, Part IV: http://nanewsweb.com/new-albany-renaissance-iv-sign-language/
Sign ordinance problems: http://nanewsweb.com/new-albany-sign-ordinance-problem/
Selective enforcement: http://nanewsweb.com/signs-of-new-albany-part-ii-selective-enforcement-poor-judgment/