By Jamie Miller
The hot topic at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Bryant City Council Thursday night centered on the proposed sign ordinance that the Planning and Community Development department and the council have been working on for a few months now. There have been several public hearings about the Ordinance as well as two workshops by the council. Still, no decisions on the Ordinance itself have been made.
After tabling the ordinance indefinitely at a special City Council meeting earlier this month, it was put on Thursday’s agenda to be discussed once again. Mayor Jill Dabbs began by saying, “We need to get on the same page with this at some point.”
At the present time, there are eight businesses attempting to come into the City of Bryant and put up their business signs, according to Mayor Dabbs. They are unable to do so due to a sign moratorium that was put in place while the Council works through the sign ordinance.
Rae Anne Fields, Executive Director of the Bryant Chamber of Commerce, approached the Council with her concerns about the ordinance and asked that the moratorium be lifted as a separate action.
After some debate and discussion by the Council, a vote was taken to simply lift the moratorium. After a role call vote, the motion failed. Alderman Steve Gladden followed up the failed motion by stating that he felt the need to pass “Resolution 2011-16 to Clarify Requirements for the Construction, Alteration, Permitting, and Posting of On-Premise Free Standing Signs Great than 32 Square Feet.” It was sponsored by Alderman Mike Chandler, which was item number eight on the agenda for the meeting.
“We need to be able to start the process,” Gladden said.
He stated that the Council not acting on the sign ordinance in any way was “handicapping” new businesses and old ones that need to make changes to their existing signs.
After much debate, the Council passed Resolution 2011-16, which lifted the moratorium but also put into place restrictions on all signs.
In a statement released this morning, Fields said, “This amendment, purported to lift the moratorium and disallow billboards, did much more. It did lift the moratorium, but also put into place restrictions on all signs. Essentially, it puts into play a sign ordinance’s requirements without it actually being an ordinance.
“We are hopeful that a replacement ordinance being worked on by some of our city council members will be brought forth next council meeting,” she added. “This will be a less restrictive measure.
“At one time we felt we knew the direction the City of Bryant was planning,” Fields concluded. “We admit to being confused as to their intent after last night’s meeting.”
In other action, Dabbs began the meeting by recognizing the Youth Advisory Council for their recent involvement in City meetings and workshops.
This Saturday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a Health Expo at Bishop Park. All citizens were encouraged by the city officials to attend and help support a healthier Bryant.
City Council meeting, Thursday, Sept. 29