City Council votes to decrease commercial sign size

COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council has approved an amendment to its sign ordinance that decreases the size of commercial signs.

The amendment, approved at the council's March 1 meeting, reduces the square footage of sign faces allowed in mixed-use commercial districts from 120 square feet to 80 square feet and reduces the height from 15 to 8 feet.

One sign structure per road frontage per lot is allowed, with the total square footage for a two-faced sign at a maximum of 160 square feet.

For lots containing a principal building of more than 65,000 square feet, the maximum area per sign would be reduced from 200 to 150 square feet per face, or an aggregate total area of not to exceed 300 square feet, a 25 percent reduction.

Planning Director Randy Vinson said the changes were proposed after complaints from residents regarding two large signs depicting teeth, advertising a dental office, were erected on Washington Street.

"We got several phone calls as soon as they went up. People were wondering how we let that get through our sign ordinance, but they fall within the dimensions of allowable signs," Vinson previously told the Citizen.

"We're not trying to restrict anybody from advertising their business or limit visibility.

We're trying to get it on a scale more aesthetically pleasing to most of the people voicing their displeasure," he added.

Existing signs will be grandfathered in; the face of existing signs can be altered but they cannot be enlarged and if they are torn down or fall down, if rebuilt they must meet the new standards.

In other news, the council opted not to grant a request by the Porterdale police chief to sell Porterdale a police car being taken out of service by the Covington Police Department. Porterdale Police Chief Wayne Digby requested the car be sold for $1.

Public Works Director Billy Bouchillon said that has been common practice in years past, but recently the city has sold its vehicles at auction and typically nets between $3,000 to $4,000 per vehicle.

Digby also requested to turn in a 1995 model Crown Victoria purchased from Covington for $1 in 2005 for a newer model.

"There are grants available to help cities the size of Porterdale," said Mayor Kim Carter. "I don't want to be in the used car business. I think they should pay fair market value."

The council agreed to maintain its current policy of selling the vehicles at auction.

The City Council did agree to a mutual assistance agreement with Porterdale. The agreement states that the cities will provide one another with manpower, equipment or expertise when requested.