Sign Ordinance tabled, for now

By Jamie Miller

Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Bryant City Council voted to table the proposed Sign Ordinance indefinitely. Alderman Rob Roedel made[more] the motion with Mike Chandler seconding.

According to City Clerk Heather Kizer, tabling an item “indefinitely” simply means that the ordinance is tabled until an unknown date.

“This means that it can be put back on the agenda at a future meeting by the Mayor and can continue to be put on future agendas until Council votes on it one way or another,” Kizer said.

The Sign Ordinance has been a hot topic for a few months now with the planning commission continually working on the Ordinance and ironing out details. After a few public hearings and workshops, it was handed over to the City Council for a first reading and vote in August. After noting that there were still some areas that needed work, the City Council sent the Ordinance back to the planning commission and had a City Council workshop over the Ordinance as well. A final workshop was held Monday, Sept. 12, with representatives of area businesses and the Bryant Area Chamber of Commerce present.

Changes made after the workshop included all current signs being grandfathered in, an unlimited number of banners attached to the building and one not attached, monument signs still on for new signs, and the other item charge for electric on the sign charge was removed.

The Tuesday vote was for how the Council wanted the first reading of the Sign Ordinance to go. A motion was made to suspend the rules and read the Ordinance by title only and this motion failed. Mayor Dabbs then asked City Clerk Kizer to read the Ordinance in it’s entirety and the Council did not want that. A motion was then made to table the Ordinance and bring it back to workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. That motion failed as well.

The motion then passed to table the Sign Ordinance indefinitely followed by a failed motion to lift the sign moratorium that is currently in place in Bryant.

Kizer expects to see the Sign Ordinance on this month’s regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m.

“Unfortunately I think the sign ordinance may show up on the City agenda as an earlier version that is less sympathetic to businesses,” said Rae Ann Fields, Executive Director of the Chamber. “I believe the work the planning commission did on Sept. 12 was valuable and appreciated by the businesses. However, some council members felt it was too quickly forced to a vote with a special called meeting on Sept. 13 to vote on it.

“It was not that they did not wish the changes,” she asserted, “but that they were asked to vote before everyone had time to consider the changes. Businesses need to use banners on their building and have bigger sign allotments than some versions (of the ordinance) allowed.”

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