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Town BZA denies sign variance

MOORESVILLE - It was a long night for members of the Mooresville Board of Zoning Appeals and Mooresville Plan Commission. Combined, both groups met for more than three hours and they continued two items until next month.

First, the town's BZA heard a request from Morgan County Libertarian Party Chairman Danny Lundy for a variance from the town's sign ordinance that prohibits all signs, including political, from the town's right of way.

Republican Party Chairman Daniel Elliott was also on the agenda to speak, but due to miscommunication on the time, he did not show up until 6:30 p.m. which was after the discussion on signs.

At issue is the section in the town's ordinance that prohibits all signs from being placed in the space between the curb and sidewalk, space that is normally considered a public right-of-way.

While in some cases the homeowner does not "own" the area between the curb and sidewalk, they must keep it maintained.

Lundy asked the board to consider granting a variance allowing the placement of political signs in the area.

There was discussion on weather the BZA was the proper agency to hear the request or if the board could hear it because no formal request for the variance had been filed.

The board's attorney, who was a substitute for the board's regular attorney, said it could hear the request. She gave a brief history of the ordinance regulating signs.

Basically, the town passed the ordinance in 2018 and it took effect Jan. 1 of 2019.

Lundy said the town began enforcing it in 2020. He felt the ordinance was being selectively enforced by the town.

Town council president Shane Williams said he was told in 2019 he had to remove his signs from the right-of-way.

After discussing the matter at length, the board decided to deny the request. Members felt the ordinance should be reviewed at a later date and possibly be changed after the review.

The next scheduled meetings for both the Mooresville BZA is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10 with the plan commission meeting taking place after.

Both meetings will take place at the Mooresville Government Center, 4 E. Harrison St.

~ by By Keith Rhoades | Correspondent | Published August 15, 2020 in The Mooresville Times

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