Committee OKs KFC sign variance

By PHILIP MOULDEN

Daily Journal

The Tupelo Planning Committee approved a variance Monday to allow a Kentucky Fried Chicken sign on West Main Street to stand 35 feet above ground, 10 feet higher than the cap set by the city's sign ordinance.

The approval came after the city planning department staff withdrew its objection, agreeing that acts of the city had created the need for the height change.

It also brought the planning department in line with the city's public works department, which had requested the sign variance under an agreement with Kentucky Fried Chicken on the widening of West Main Street under the Major Thoroughfare Program. The public works department directs thoroughfare operations.

Power pole replacements tied to the street project brought utility lines dangerously close to the restaurant's current sign, forcing relocation, officials said. But the new location was farther from the street than the original sign, prompting the owner to demand that it be raised to increase visibility, officials said.

"The city created the situation, not the owner," city planning director Pat Falkner said. "We're recommending to you now that you approve this based on this being a situation the owner did not create."

Similar consideration

Falkner said he had no indication other businesses along the construction area on West Main would seek similar consideration.

"They (public works officials) were able to find ways to accommodate the other signs on that street," he said.

Planning committee members had asked last month that an attempt be made to get the restaurant owner to consider reducing the height of the sign to 30 feet, but apparently no one approached him with the request. Tom Hewitt cast the only opposing vote in the 5-1 decision. Members Bill Martin and Curtis Lowery were not present.

In other action, the committee unanimously rejected an appeal to allow a personal care home at 103 Enoch Street. Neighbors objected, arguing that anything other than a single-family dwelling at the location would devalue property in the neighborhood.

The committee also declined to vote on a rezoning proposal that would allow the construction of a barber shop on part of a lot at the southwest corner of Boggan Street and Lawndale Drive. The application was previously tabled.

Members elected to keep it on the table after it was learned that nearby property owners who opposed the rezoning had not been notified the issue could come up for a vote Monday. Officials said all parties would be notified and the matter would be placed on next month's agenda.

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