City Prioritizes A-Frame Sign Ordinance and Advances Alcohol Beverage Sales

Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson asked the council to consider establishing specific criteria for granting Special Use Permits.

September 21, 2011: City Council Work Session


Item 8: Discussion of A-Frame Sign Ordinance---Dennis Billew, Director of Planning and Zoning, admitted that “not a lot of progress has been made on the A-Frame Sign Ordinance."  Billew showed the council a number of images taken of downtown businesses using A-Frame signs and in clear violation of the Sign Ordinance.

The council has instructed Billew and his department to meet with downtown business owners to create an A-Frame Sign special use permit application. Each of these business owners would then be grouped together and their requests for A-Frame signage special use would be presented to the council for approval or denial.

said, “The special use fee associated with the A-Frame signs at the $300 mark just does not make sense”.  

Billew said that the city would be issuing these permits “as a block” and at that time would “possibly waive the fee”.  He said that existing businesses using these signs would be put together without collecting the fee.

With consent from the council to proceed as instructed, Billew said he would now get to creating this A-Frame application and permit “sooner rather than later” because it moves to the top of his to-do list.


Item 9: Discussion of 1st Reading-Chapter 34-201 – Alcohol Beverage Sales---Councilman P.K. Martin said that he had received an inquiry as to whether or not the city would allow the sale of alcohol, specifically beer, in packages supplied by the purchaser.  Instead of buying pre-packaged alcohol, the buyer would bring a jug or container in which the seller would fill with alcohol for purchasing.  The container is then sealed and the contents cannot be consumed on the premises. It must be carried out.

City Attorney Lee Thompson, Jr. said this method of selling alcohol is still considered to be “packaged” sales. 

In following Thompson’s advice, Councilman Martin asked that “more descriptors be placed on (in ordinances governing) wine stores”.   

Thompson said that he is working with City Clerk Karen Pierce and her staff on a “number of revisions to the Alcohol Ordinance” to address some of these issues.

Councilman Martin said he doesn’t want the city to lose its “competitiveness advantage”.

The 2nd and final Reading of these amendments will take place during the October 3rd City Council Business Meeting.


Item 22: Discussion of Special Use Permit Policy---Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson asked the council to consider creating criteria on which Special Use Permits would be granted.

Johnson said, “When you talk about a Special Use Permit, and it comes before the council, it appears that we are making decisions based on certain conditions. It concerns me that there could be legal ramifications because we don’t have criteria for special use permits”. 

Often times she said the person seeking a special use permit appears before the council to let them know what they want and the council will approve the requests without having criteria to base their decision.

She asked the council to think about this proposal of establishing criteria for further discussion during their October Work Session.

At the end of this agenda item discussion, the council moved into a Special Call Meeting.


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