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New Hobart YMCA sign causing problems

Updated: August 16, 2013 6:19AM



HOBART — The digital sign installed by the Hobart Family YMCA last year as part of its rebranding violates several city codes and has residents living by the sign seeing red.

“No one notified any of the homeowners that the sign was going up. One person can’t even open his windows because of the sign,” Gary France, who lives on North Wisconsin Street, told the Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday night.

France said he wants to know the federal, state and city laws concerning signs as well as correspondence between the YMCA and the city.

“I want to take them to someone to find out if my due process has been denied,” France said.

Daniel Rodriguez said the sign was supposed to be installed at 601 W. 40th Place, but it’s in his yard at 419 N. Wisconsin St.

“Why is this sign on my property,” he asked.

Candice Rodriguez said the sign is red, blinks and has a long message that people often stop and park their car on her lawn to read.

“This sign is twice as big, taller and brighter than their previous sign,” Candice Rodriguez said.

She said the digital sign replaced a smaller, nondigital sign. She said the previous one had its lights on all night, also creating a nuisance.

“We’ve had to put up with this sign since we moved in 10 years ago,” she said.

BZA member Greg Lollis said the sign is in violation of several city ordinances that will need to be addressed. But he added that the BZA has nothing to do with the matter; the residents need to talk to the Board of Works.

Interim City Planner Carroll Lewis said the sign’s location is not in violation of city codes. It was placed in an easement and the Board of Works, not the homeowner, has control over what is placed in an easement. He said the sign was approved for the corner of 40th Place and Wisconsin Street, where it is located.

What the YMCA is in violation of, he said, is in the sign’s brightness, color, blinking and animation. The YMCA just needs to change the programming on the sign, Lewis said.

He said France can get copies of city documents from the clerk-treasurer’s office.

Councilman John Brezik, D-5th, suggested the residents sit down with city and YMCA officials to see if they can come up with a solution.

Candice Rodriguez said that’s a start.

“It’s a beginning but we won’t stop there,” she said.

Dale Polomchak, executive director of the Hobart Family YMCA, did not return a phone call requesting a comment.



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