Owner says fee can burden small businesses

Last updated: July 22. 2014 1:08PM - 813 Views
By - mlasley@civitasmedia.com

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A local business owner looking to display a new sign has encountered difficulties with receiving State and City approval.

T-Shirt Express Owner John Allen addressed the Leitchfield City Council, during its regularly scheduled Monday, July 21 meeting, to discuss the issues that have arisen regarding posting a new sign in front of his business.

Allen said he has not been granted approval to post his new sign, which will stick out from the building on a bracket, because according to an ordinance, the state of Kentucky building inspector must first approve a structural engineer’s plans for the sign.

T-Shirt Express, located at 117 W. Main St. in Leitchfield since 1999, had previously posted a flat sign on the front of the building, but, Allen said, the new, bracketed sign would be easier to see and comprehend by passersby.

Allen said the set of engineer’s plans, which would have to depict the bracket design and sign mounting method, has been the primary issue regarding posting his new sign because the engineer’s fee he has been quoted is $1,500.

Allen said he is willing to pay the fee if it is the only option but argued that such a costly fee would be a strain on small business owners, especially when the city talks about improving its downtown area.

City Councilman Billy Dallas agreed with Allen and said, “$1,500 is a lot for a new business just starting out.”

Allen also submitted photos to the City Council of signs that stuck out from the building in the 1960’s that did not require state approval to post.

According to Leitchfield Public Works Director Sheila Puckett, signs and objects that jut out from buildings that were installed prior to the state ordinance’s going into effect do not require state approval.

Puckett said the state now requires certain documentation regarding the posting of new signs because if the sign were to fall and injure or kill someone, the state, city, and property owner could be liable as a result due to allowing the sign to be posted without approved documentation.

Puckett said that if the state grants approval for the sign to be posted, she will grant Allen a permit to post his sign.

Leitchfield Chief of Police Kevin Henderson said he would personally recommend an engineer to Allen following the meeting.

City Councilman Harold Miller said to Allen, “I’m willing to do whatever I can to help you.”

Dallas added, “Thank you for your business on the square.”

In other business:

*Leitchfield Tourism Director Ilsa Johnson thanked T-Shirt Express for allowing the city to use its power for the Freedom and Fiddling Festival rides this past Saturday, July 19.

Johnson said the crowd at this year’s festival was down, but overall, the event went smoother than last year.

She also said the city had intended to have a teenage/young adult-appropriate ride during Freedom and Fiddling, but the ride malfunctioned while in transit to Leitchfield.

Miller also gave a report on the Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship, which was held in conjunction with the Freedom Festival on Saturday, July 19.

Miller said 73 fiddle players, 51 of whom were under the age of 18, participated, which makes the Twin Lakes National Fiddlers Championship the contest with the most fiddle players east of the Mississippi River.

In addition, the competition hosted 52 non-fiddle contestants, making for a total of 125 contestants representing 14 states.

Miller said he wished to thank the city and county governments and officials for their assistance with the event and also the community’s support.

“It’s got to be a community effort,” he said. “I do want to thank everybody involved. I do want to thank everyone who came out and supported us.”

Leitchfield City Councilman Kelly Stevenson said he has been involved with the Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship for the past three years, and after seeing and hearing about the high number of talented and successful musicians from Grayson County, he would like to see a historical record of their work and success.

*City Attorney Kenneth Smart gave the first reading of the city utilities Amended Bond Ordinance and second and final reading of the city’s Amended Debris Pick Up and Disposal Ordinance, both of which were approved by the City Council.

*Puckett said the city had applied for and obtained an Area Development Fund grant for the purchase of playground equipment at the cost of $749. 62.

The grant funded the purchase of the “Calvin the Caterpillar” feature at the James D. Beville City Park, Puckett said.

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