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Signing off
City votes to remove theatre sign
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McMinnville officials have agreed to remove the sign hanging next to Park Theatre. The sign will be removed and stored until a decision can be made about its future.
Building and Grounds Committee members met Tuesday night to discuss a request from David Stinson, president of Diamond Jewelry Company, to remove the sign.
“The sign is something that’s partially on our property and as I understand it, it’s also on a pole that’s on the Stinson’s property,” said committee chairman Ben Newman.
Stinson gave several reasons why he wants the sign removed, including its dilapidated condition, safety concerns, rust runoff causing damage to his building and resulting in his awning needing to be replaced, and a desire to expand his building.
“He has visions for his building to expand up, which is the only way for him to expand, and the sign is causing damage to his building,” said Newman. “I think it’s his property right to have that open. I don’t think the city can keep something over someone’s building.”
City attorney Tim Pirtle says Stinson owns the space above his building. “A land owner owns the space above their property just as they own the space below the property,” said Pirtle.
Pirtle continued, “They have a legal right to free access of the property.”
Aldermen Ken Smith made a motion to remove the sign. The motion passed unanimously by Smith, Newman and Alderman Jimmy Bonner.
“I have talked to the sign people and it could be reused,” said Mayor Jimmy Haley. “We have talked about electronic, which is what we were originally going to do. The sign was grandfathered in and it is considered a historic sign. Maybe we could use it on the back of the building.”
The sign was placed in the 1960s. By current city code, the sign is too big for the building. However, it was in place prior to signage restrictions and was grandfathered in, meaning it was allowed to remain on the building.
McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock was instructed to have his employees remove the sign. No time was given for the work to be done.