Bentonville Planning Commission OKs sign and address ordinance amendments

Posted: November 22, 2017 at 1:03 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- Changes to the city's sign ordinance will help officials make sure pole signs are removed when a property is redeveloped.

A few issues have come up needing clarification since the city adopted its most recent sign ordinance late last year, said Shelli Kerr, interim community and economic development director.

Commission action

Bentonville’s Planning Commission met Tuesday and approved:

• A permit for Inspire Med Spa at 2104 S.E. 14th St.

• Rezoning 302 N.E. B St. from single family residential to downtown high-density residential.

• Rezoning on Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard from agriculture to general commercial.

• Rezoning on Southwest Blue Jay Lane from agriculture to high-density residential.

• Rezoning at Southwest Barron Road and Piercy Road from agricultural to single-family residential.

• Lot splits at 2090 N.E. J St. and at 798 S.E. Plaza Ave.

• Property line adjustment at 1503 and 1505 S.W. Second St.

• Development plans for Hogwild Warehouse Phase II.

• Development extension for J3 Apartments at Southeast Third and J streets and East Central Avenue.

Source: Staff Report

One of the largest issues has been developers simply replacing the face of a sign rather than changing the type of sign when redeveloping a commercial property, she said. The pole sign is left standing, and only the face of the sign is replaced.

"That's really not what our intention was," Kerr said. "Our intention was that over time, through attrition, you will be able to get everything back into a monument-style sign."

The amended ordinance will require pole signs to come into compliance when a site is redeveloped.

Planning Commission approved 6-0 amendments to the sign ordinance as well as the address ordinance during its meeting Tuesday. Commissioner Jim Grider was absent.

Commissioner Joe Hanyie asked how much of the site needed to change in order for the requirement to be enforced.

Kerr sited the amended ordinance, which reads, "when the primary structure on the site on which the sign is located is being demolished, is damaged beyond 50% of current repair or replacement cost or receives an addition that is larger than the gross square footage of the primary structure."

The amendments also clarify definitions for roof, wall and canopy signs and remove "commercial mascots" from signs allowed with a temporary permit. One example would be the Statue of Liberty costume worn to promote Liberty Tax Services during tax filing season.

"So that lady that dances at tax time, gone?" Commissioner Richard Binns asked jovially.

"I'm sorry. No more dancing," Kerr said.

Commissioners giggled.

Mascots were difficult to track, and are a distraction to drivers, Kerr said.

The address ordinance was rewritten to bring consistency throughout the city code, improve the addressing process and standards, Kerr said.

"It's pretty much a rewrite of what we already had," she said. "There's nothing major to change."

It establishes a protocol to name alleys, which will help city crews with their maintenance and utility location if they're in an alley, Kerr said, adding this is for naming alleys that are created. There's no intention of naming existing alleys at this point.

No one spoke during the public hearing for either ordinance.

Both ordinances will go to City Council for approval and will become effective 30 days after, should the council pass them.

The changes are part of a larger effort to update all codes, put them into one document and make it easily accessible, Kerr said.

NW News on 11/22/2017