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City orders sign moved
sign rejected2.jpg
A sign on Chancery Street has lost its grandfathered-in status after the old sign was removed and a new one placed. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

A sign owned by RWRP Property and located at 488 North Chancery Street must be moved less than 3 feet to comply with city code. 

McMinnville Board of Zoning Appeals has rejected a variance request for 488 North Chancery Street that would have allowed the sign to remain in its current location.

“My partners and I spent $24,000 to make the streets of McMinnville look so much better with that concrete parking lot when we didn’t need to do that,” said Randall Dunn of RWRP Properties. “In the process, we took down rotten, unsafe posts and put up nice brand new posts to make things look better and to add value in McMinnville."

If we hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be going through any of this right now. I just think it’s a sad thing. It makes you wish you hadn’t spent money in McMinnville on things like that, improvements, because then you get into situations like this and you have to go through all kinds of stuff. It makes it very hard to do business in McMinnville,” Dunn concluded.

Those words came after Board of Zoning Appeals members Jerry Williamson, Jim Brock, David Marttala and Tom Ward unanimously rejected a request to allow a variance of 2 feet, 9 inches. At this time, the sign is 2 feet, 3 inches from the right of way when 5 feet is required by current city code. 

“We appreciate your comments,” said Marttala. “We have to follow code.”

Williamson added, “I understand your situation because I’ve been in similar ones. McMinnville is one of the easiest ones to work with that I’ve ever worked with. This would apply to all of us. We would have to do the same thing. It’s nothing personal. We appreciate all you’ve done to make improvements to that property. It’s just circumstances. Either you have a sign ordinance or you don’t.”

If the sign had been renovated, not replaced, it would have retained its grandfathered-in status.

“Because it’s a new structure, it’s a new sign,” said city planner Katie Kemezis. “We would recommend denial based on the fact it doesn’t meet the standards for a variance.”

Kemezis says one call to Community Development prior to the work being done would have prevented the situation. 

“They didn’t request a sign permit,” she said. “If they had, they would have been told that the sign wasn’t in compliance and we would have asked them to move the sign back prior to the work being done. That would have prevented them from having to go back and undo work that has been done.” 

The partner did make a final push to sway the board’s decision.

“If we do that, you won’t even have room to drive through in front of the building,” said Dunn. 

Marttala replied, “It looks like there would be, but I can’t say for sure.”

The business is currently the home of Auntie Mattie’s Soul Food To Go. 

For inquiries about current code and if proposed work requires a permit, McMinnville Community Development Department can be reached at 473-1204.