Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

October 16, 2012

Council enters long discussions about signs and backyard amenities

Knoxville — The Knoxville City Council had the approval of a new sign ordinance and an ordinance regarding accessory structures on its agenda last night, but both left the council with many questions. 

The first reading of the sign ordinance was approved, though more changes will be made. Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik wrote the new ordinance to try to simplify the process of sign placement in Knoxville. 

Council members were concerned about the amount of information in the sign ordinance and wanted to take more time to ensure that they full understood it, as well as offer their constituents the chance to review the ordinance on their own. Feik has copies of the ordinance available at City Hall. 

Resident Brian Kendall asked the council how they will address enforcing new requirements and how that will be paid for.

"I don't see how the enforcement or cost of the enforcement will change," Feik said. He, the community service office and building inspector will likely be the ones to enforce the sign ordinance. 

The sign ordinance issue arose when the Knoxville School District requested to install a new, monumental sign at the high school. Upon inspection, Feik found that they could not do that, according to code. Navigating the areas where signs are addressed in the current code was also complicated. 

"We need to get this done," Councilor Dave Roozeboom said. Footings for the school's monumental sign can be poured without the ordinance being in effect. Roozeboom and others wanted to ensure that the sign could be installed before the ground froze. 

A short time later in the council meeting, an ordinance regarding accessory structures (hot tubs, pools, arbors, sheds, etc.) came up for discussion. Feik said the code is unclear regarding how to deal with these things, and the process for residents to have them approved is difficult and lengthy. Feik wants to shorten the permit process.

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