By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen's sign committee met Wednesday evening to wrap up the business of making changes to the city's sign ordinance and send the revised ordinance to the planning and zoning commission.
The committee, which initially wrapped up work on the sign ordinance last year, reconvened over the past six weeks after several business owners complained about how restrictive advertising on banners had become.
City staff, after hearing concerns from residents, made two substantive changes to the ordinance and two changes that cleaned up redundant language.
The first change improved the definition of a flag in the ordinance. However, Assistant City Attorney Traci Briggs expressed concerns about a provision in the definition that prohibits using flags to advertise goods or services.
"If a flag said Honda, that's advertising Honda," said Briggs.
Councilman Larry Cole, who chairs the committee, said he believes the flag functions more as an emblem than an advertisement.
"If you put 'Honda' on it, that's Honda's flag. That's how I see it," said Cole.
The other adjustment to the ordinance changed the times an illuminated sign must be turned off in residential areas - to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. from the current 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
That discussion led to a debate on how many of these signs would be allowed per building. Members of the committee pointed out that Ellison High School has two of these signs, and the ordinance would limit them to just one.
Members of the committee addressed the issue by changing the ordinance to say there can't be more than one illuminated sign per frontage.
"If a business is lucky enough to have a whole block to themselves, let them have four signs," said Councilman Michael Lower.
Finally, the committee agreed to change the sign ordinance to allow 30-day permits for temporary signs that could be renewed up to four times a year.
Initially, the committee considered a 90-day permit that could be renewed three times a year. However, Councilman Terry Clark felt that was too long for a temporary sign.
"That's a lot more than temporary. That's three-fourths of the year," said Clark.
Not all residents were pleased with the committee's work, however. Sandra Skinner, who co-owns several furniture stores in Killeen, said she felt the committee was limiting how area businesses can reach customers.
"We're not trying to limit anyone," replied committee member Michael DeHart. "We're trying to make the city look better."
The revised ordinance now goes to the city's planning and zoning commission, which could consider the matter at its Nov. 14 meeting.
Contact Sean Wardwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.