Council weighs in on signs

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The public hearing drew no speakers, but that didn’t prevent City Council members from weighing in Tuesday on proposed changes to rules on contractor job site signs.

The city currently bans contractors from placing business signs on off-premise properties where they are conducting work, but Alderperson Shawn Marcom would like to change that to allow the signs.

That ordinance was scheduled for a public hearing at the council’s meeting before going to the Plan Commission for a recommendation at their Dec. 5 meeting. After that, it will come back to the council for final action at their Dec. 10 meeting.

As currently worded, the ordinance would allow the signs at “new construction sites and remodeling, repairing, or renovation projects,” for up to 30 days after the work is completed.

Alderperson Jim Sedlacek, while saying that the thought the proposal was a good idea, questioned the length of time the signs would be allowed to stay up.

“I think businesses working in town should get the benefit of some signage, but I just think 30 days after the completion of a project is a little long. I’d rather see 10 to 15 days,” Sedlacek said.

Marcom said he could agree to such a change and recommended that the Plan Commission make the change when they take up the proposed ordinance.

“This doesn’t tell you where the sign is going to be,” Alderperson Jack Fernsler commented. “Is it going to be in the front yard, in the back yard, on the house?”

“You would presume it would be in the front yard where it would be visible from the street, but you’re right, it doesn’t say,” Mayor Donald Pohlman noted.

Pohlman explained that the current restriction was put in place several years ago, “after there was some concern about multiple signage in subdivisions. This (ban) was put forth to stop that abuse.”

Council President Charles Hansen questioned how the new rule would be enforced and suggested the Plan Commission should consider that as well.

He also said that the city might consider charging a fee for such signs to help enforce the ordinance, although he conceded he didn’t know if that would be a good idea or not.

The council passed an ordinance tightening up the non-smoking rules on city-owned property.

The new rule would prohibit smoking within 12 feet of any entrance to any building owned by the city.

City Attorney Crystal Fieber explained that the change was requested by Plymouth Library Director Martha Rosche.

She added that the city can only regulate smoking outdoors on cityowned property. Such bans on private property are up to property owners, so the new ordinance would only impact City Hall, the library, the Plymouth Utilities Operations Center and other city-owned buildings.

Police Chief Jeff Tauscheck said signs would be posted on city buildings explaining the expanded smoking ban.

Tauscheck joined with Pohlman and the council in honoring former Officer Gerald Brachmann, who recently retired after more than 30 years with the Plymouth Police Department.

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