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City discusses limits on sign sizes
Mural - Youngblood.jpg
This pretty sign has been painted on the side of Youngblood & Associates on Morford Street. City officials continue to discuss murals and signs in the historic downtown district.

Signage is important for any business, but what size is too large for McMinnville’s Downtown Historic District? 

The city’s Historic Zoning Commission continues to discuss the possibility of reducing the size of signs allowed, a recommendation by Bobby Kirby during a previous meeting. Kirby expressed concerns for signs potentially being larger than necessary for identification purposes.

“We may want to clarify our guidelines for the historic district,” said Kirby. “Maybe we should talk about reducing that from 50% to 25% or maybe 30%. Something less than 50%. These signs could become too large. That’s something for a later discussion.”

City code allows signs to cover up to 50% of a wall. However, Historic Zone guidelines state signs must respect the size, scale and design of the building and should be no larger than necessary for the purposes of identification. 

Newly appointed Historic Zoning Commission member Michael Griffith questioned the difference between a sign and a mural, because some business signs appear to be murals.

“If there is any advertising material, that makes it a sign,” said Katie Kemezis, community planner for the city of McMinnville. “Within the sign code, murals are allowed to take up the whole façade or a great portion of it. Because it has the ability, regulations are that it cannot be on the front of the building. It can only be on the side or the back of the building. Signs can be on the front, but they can only take up 50% of that façade.”

Rachel Kirby stated, “That percentage needs to come down.”

“Fifty percent of the wall on my building would be way too big for a sign. I think 50% is too much,” said Raven Young, referencing the old Fraley’s building.

Suggested was a reduction to 25%.

“I don’t want a sign to be too big or gaudy by any means, but I want the property owner to be able to use the surface area they’ve got,” said Griffith, who added some buildings are larger than others so a one-size-fits-all stance might not be suitable.

Kemezis offered to rework the signage guidelines and bring that information back to the commission for consideration, an offer that was accepted.