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Board approved new mall tenant’s sign

By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

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LaGRANGE — The Board of Planning and Zoning Appeals on Monday cleared the way for LaGrange Mall’s newest future tenant to place three signs on an outparcel building in the mall’s southern parking lot.

A sign variance request from Anchor Signs of Charleston, South Carolina, was approved unanimously and will allow three 3-foot-6 Aspen Dental signs to be placed on the buildings southern, western and northern sides. The board can act unilaterally on the sign variance and City Council does not need to consider it.

The variance was necessary because of a city ordinance limiting signage to a maximum of 3 feet in height, according to Leigh Threadgill, the city planner.

During the meeting, Threadgill said most cities do not set maximum heights, rather limit signage to a portion of the total square footage of the buildings frontage. Threadgill said she is preparing a set of recommendations for the board to consider at a later date that would overhaul the city’s sign ordinance, but that process would require significant research and approval of both the planning and zoning appeals board and City Council.

In other business, the board approved a change in zoning to a property at 1503 Vernon Road. The property is a former gas station across from West Georgia Medical Center at the corner of Jenkins Street and Vernon Road and is currently zoned general industrial. Applicant Deepak Gaddam of Jenkins Street is requested to have the parcel rezoned general commercial, C-3, which is the city’s least restrictive commercial zoning and would allow for anything from office space to beauty salons to warehousing.

After consideration, the board voted to change the parcel’s zoning to neighborhood commercial, C-1, which is slightly more restrictive but still allows for most commercial uses, excluding automotive service centers and light industrial warehousing.

The board made the decision after discussion that noted the current owners and applicants for rezoning recently purchased the building and want to lease it out, but do not have a clear idea of what tenant would lease the space. The board indicated it would be willing to consider a general commercial, C-3, zoning if the applicant had a clear plan and re-applied for the zoning change again at a later date. City Council will hold a public hearing on the rezoning tonight in Council Chambers during its 5:30 meeting.

A third matter considered by the board included a rezoning request for a property at 0 Ridley Avenue. LaGrange Pool and Spa, currently located on Bull Street, is moving to a lot on Mitchell Street that sits just east of the lot. The company purchased the Ridley Avenue lot to avoid having to meet a buffer requirement and was requesting to have the property rezoned from single and two-family residences to general commercial.

The board approved the measure, which will also be heard in a public hearing tonight during council’s meeting.

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.