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Planning and Zoning continues work on sign ordinance

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By Linda Ireland

Land of Lincoln Planning and Zoning has returned to the drawing board after its proposed sign ordinance was stonewalled by LaRue Fiscal Court and Hodgenville City Council.
The commission spent about an hour at a recent meeting looking over Hardin County’s sign ordinance, noting things they liked or disliked about the plan. No recommendation or vote was taken but commissioners hope to come up with a version that will meet approval from the City and County.
Both fiscal court and the city had first reading of a sign ordinance but neither has had a second reading which is necessary before it can become law. The ordinance prohibited signs being placed in the viewshed regardless of the zoning of the property. It does not affect signs already in place.
A viewshed corridor regulates the appearance of developments along roadways with scenic or historic value, acting as a “visual buffer.” A corridor was established on Lincoln Parkway and U.S. 31-E in 2008 by the City and County upon the recommendation of Planning and Zoning.
The viewshed is 400-feet from the right-of-way on Lincoln Parkway and 100-feet from the right-of-way on Bardstown Road.
Paul Lassanske, planning and zoning chairman, said the original viewshed ordinance exempted agriculture land from many of its requirements. Since then, numerous signs have gone up on Lincoln Parkway for businesses that are unrelated to agriculture.
LaRue County Judge/executive Tommy Turner said the ordinance was given to the sign committee – which includes magistrates Tony Stewart and Ricky Whitlock – to look at “possible language changes.”
Stewart said the ordinance “had some people debating.” He hoped language that was “not so restrictive” could be found.
Stewart said he owns property along Lincoln Parkway and can “see both sides” of the sign ordinance.
“I drive the Parkway daily – it is nice – I never really thought about it before.”
In its current state, Stewart doesn’t see that signs are much of a problem on the Parkway. “But you don’t know what the future holds,” he said.
He’d like to see it resolved and plans to attend a future Planning and Zoning meeting to offer input.
“I’d like to see the best scenario for everyone,” Stewart said.
Lincoln Parkway was constructed with federal aid highway funds, according to the State Transportation Department.
Chris Jessie, spokesman for the Transportation Department, said anyone constructing a sign on the Parkway should apply for a permit from the State.
“Any ordinances by planning and zoning that are more restrictive (than the State’s) would supersede the State’s,” he said.
Lassanske said he learned of fiscal court’s concerns through conversations with Turner and Stewart.
Longtime commissioner Steve Payne said the original intent of the viewshed and sign ordinance was to “preserve the view,” not to harm people. He said there was a possibility the community did not want to preserve the view.
The Hardin County sign ordinance contains application and fee schedules, addresses political, safety, illuminated, agriculture and temporary signs.