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Commission clarifies difference between murals and signs
It's a sign, not a mural.jpg
The wall on the side of 203 E. Morford Street has been approved for a sign by the Historic Zoning Commission. Resembling a mural, the sign does not meet mural guidelines because it contains a business logo. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Art or signage? 

A mural/ sign request has McMinnville Historic Zoning Commission members reconsidering the size of signs that should be allowed in downtown’s historic district.

Kara Youngblood requested a certificate of appropriateness from the city’s Historic Zoning Commission that would allow the placement of a “mural/ sign on the side of the building” at 203 E. Morford Street. The painting would be 11 feet high by 20 feet long and depict trees, flowers, butterflies, and a girl. It also contains “YA” within the design and “Youngblood & Associates” above it.

According to Katie Kemezis, city planner for McMinnville Community Development Department, the sign was originally presented as a mural, but the presences of a logo disqualifies it from that distinction. 

“This is a sign that originally came in as a mural permit,” said Kemezis. “Because her logo is part of the mural and arguably, Youngblood & Associates is integrated within the mural aspect of it, we said no, this is a sign. It has advertising content in it so it needs to come before the Historic Zoning Commission and be reviewed against the sign code.”

The sign meets all the current code guidelines pertaining to placement and size. Signs must respect the size, scale and design of the building and should be no larger than necessary for the purposes of identification.

“I think it’s beautiful,” said Rachel Kirby, a member of the Historic Zoning Commission. “If it’s a mural, you have to take off the name.”

Added Historic Zoning Commission member Bobby Kirby, “It is a sign. I like it. I think it will look good. I’m glad you changed the wording from mural to sign because it is not a mural. I think we need to be careful about that, what we call a mural and what we call a sign, so we can be consistent.”

While murals can encompass the entire wall, signs cannot be larger than 50% of the square footage of the wall.

“I think if this were any bigger, it would be too big,” said Rachel.

Bobby expressed concerns for signs within the historic district being larger than necessary for identification purposes but falling within the percentage restriction.

“This is less than one-third of the wall, but if it were 50%, it would be way too big,” said Bobby. “We may want to clarify our guidelines for the historic district. Maybe we should talk about reducing that from 50% to 25% or maybe 30. Something less than 50% percent. These signs could become too large. That’s something for a later discussion. As far as this, I have no problem with it. I like it.” 

Historic Zoning Commission members unanimously approved the sign request for 203 E. Morford Street.