Council approves sign ordinance amendments

After months of debate, members of St. Marys City Council approved Ordinance 261, amending the city's sign ordinance, by a 5-2 vote during their meeting on Monday evening. Mayor Sally Geyer and councilman Dick Dornisch opposed the ordinance. Prior to voting on whether to approve the ordinance, Geyer explained that she did not agree with some of the measures and specifically cited the time limits that the ordinance imposes for removal of signs."It just seems like it's a little overkill on some of these things," Geyer said. A public hearing on the ordinance revisions was also held at the beginning of the meeting. Matt Pfeufer, City of St. Marys Zoning Officer, addressed council members looking for clarification on several items. Flat-wall and wall-projecting signs for businesses are to be no larger than 15 percent of the size of the wall to which the sign is attached. Pfeufer questioned whether the 15 percent was cumulative for all signs or if it would be 15 percent per use within the building. City solicitor Mark Jacob, whom council members noted was celebrating his birthday on Monday, responded that the 15 percent was cumulative for all the businesses in a location. "We did not change the definition of a building. We did not change anything that refers to that. I was not directed to change any of that, so it would be per building, not per business in that building," Jacob said. Jacob explained that the same logic applies for flat-wall business signs: only one is permitted per location, even if multiple businesses are located within the same building. Finally, Pfeufer inquired about whether only one special event sign would be permitted at one time for any given property, regardless of how many businesses were located at that property. "That's my understanding, because that's the way it was before and that part was not changed," Jacob said.