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11-7-12


Business owner asks for exception
to sign ordinance

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

A business owner stood before the Parkville Board of Alderman Tuesday evening, and pleaded with city officials to grant her permission to post a single sign for an upcoming event.

Kyle Arrington, a co-founder of Merry Go Round 4 Kids, said the most inexpensive way to reach customers in the past has been achieved by the posting of yard signs.

But to abide by city law, Arrington said she refrained from advertising by means of posting signs within the city limits of Parkville.

Arrington said the city's restriction on yard signs resulted in substantially low sales during her most recent event.

“Our sales should have been up thirty percent, it was only up 4 percent,” she said.

“It is difficult for a business owner to get the word out in an inexpensive manner. The families in the community really do need a kid's consignment sale. I myself rely on them. I have a 3 and 6 year old,” she said.

Arrington requested that city officials allow her the ability to place a two by four foot sign at the intersection of Highway 45 and 9 Highway for a duration of five days prior to their April event.

“That would help us tremendously,” she said. “From what I understand the (city’s) concerns were clutter, (signs) being on personal property, and too many (signs) close together.”

Arrington argued that her request was reasonable and would not significantly impact the city's landscape.

Sean Ackerson, assistant city administrator and interim city administrator, said the code would need to be amended in order to allow a for-profit business the ability to post a sign on non-event property.

According to the city's code said Ackerson, non-festival events are permitted to advertise using signs, but are restricted in that the signs can only be posted at the site of the event.

While garage sales are exempt from certain sign restrictions, other seasonal events are not. Alderman Kendall Welch asked whether this event could fall under the garage sale category.

“We can look at it, but we just want to be careful and apply it equally,” said Ackerson. “For example, the consignment approach is not entirely dissimilar from some of our stores downtown that have individual venders that sale items on consignment.”

When asked whether an exception could be made, the city attorney weighed in.

“Really the governing body shouldn't be in a position of waiving code requirements,” said Steve Chinn, city attorney. “Unless there is a provision in the code for some kind of variance, then the governing body doesn't really have the authority to make exceptions to the existing code provisions. Their responsibility is to review them in light of existing circumstances and if there needs to be an amendment to the code then that is the way you should address the problem.”

At the mayor's direction, Ackerson said he would continue to research the issue and present his recommendation to the board in the near future.

The merchandise sold during the twice a year event, is provided by families who choose to sell clothing that their children have outgrown, as well as gently used toys and in return receive a substantial discount on items they want to purchase at the consignment sale. Merry Go Round 4 Kids sales children clothing ranging in age from birth to juniors.

In other news, Mayor Jim Brooks declined to comment Tuesday evening when asked whether Shannon Thompson, former city administrator, had accepted the board's severance offer of $40,000.

But when asked whether a timetable was imposed upon the board's second offer, Brooks said given that the motion does not set forth any specific dates, it could be interpreted that there is no specific time limit to the city’s offer.

Also on Monday, city officials amended two ordinances to better regulate the secondary effects of adult businesses. Andrea Bough, an attorney working with Chinn on this particular matter, recently said the ordinance which more clearly defines an adult business “adopts the best practices throughout the nation.