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Sides squaring off over move to stop sign

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Restaurant’s new sign sparks objection • Mayor says lack of enforcement in the past is at root of the problem

By Molly Haines

Discussion on the Family Billiards sign located at the corner of Main and East Perry streets continued at a recent Owenton City Council meeting.
Attorney Ruth Baxter spoke on behalf of Mike McDonald, a part owner of McDonald and New Funeral Home.
Baxter said during the meeting that the sign was not in compliance with the city’s regulations when the council approved the sign in 2011, or when the sign was recently erected.
“We ask that you look at the issue and see if it can’t be removed from its location,” Baxter said. “It’s personally offensive to McDonald and New. It’s not attractive to their property and we believe it carries a false representation.”
Baxter also asked the council consult with City Attorney Mitzi Evans to the process that was followed and whether or not that was the correct process.
“We just believe it’s not in compliance with either your regs that were in effect (Nov. 2011) or this year when it was actually installed,” Baxter said.
According to Baxter, off-premise signs are prohibited under city law and signs should not be more than six feet from the ground.
 Owenton Mayor Doug West said planning and zoning had been in effect since 1965 in the City of Owenton, but there was never any administration, enforcement officer or planning and zoning meetings.
“There are all kinds of signs all over town, but there are no records that I could find anywhere of a planning and zoning board meeting and approving any sign,” West said. “ … Any time anyone wants a sign now, the building inspector has to approve it and then it goes before planning and zoning.”
West said the planning and zoning commission is required to meet six times a year and that the members of the commission have had their required training.
“The planning and zoning commission is now meeting and we’re trying to get on top of it. We want to do what’s right and it’s going to take a while,” West said.
Attorney Nicholas Marsh spoke on behalf of Alfred Arrowood, a part owner of Family Billiards.
“We stand behind the city’s permit,” Marsh said. “Quite frankly we feel that the city acted within its right. The permit was issued in 2011, that’s when it was under the old law ... Mr. Arrowood and Family Billiards acted in reliance on the city council’s action and the issuance of the permit. We had to sign a permit, we feel we have a fully legal sign.”