Hobart planners: Does U.S. 30 have too many signs?
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent December 19, 2012 9:16PM
Updated: January 21, 2013 3:54PM
HOBART — The City Council on Wednesday approved zoning changes allowing for a new muffler shop on U.S. 6 and a billboard sign at the Centier Bank property at U.S. 30 and Colorado Avenue, although there was some concern as to whether the city may have too many signs along the busy highway.
Councilman John Brezik, D-5th, who also chairs the Plan Commission, said the billboard issue was sent to the City Council with no recommendation by the planners, which he said could indicate the commission believes there is a proliferation of billboards along U.S. 30.
“The commission is in a quandary not knowing the feeling of the city regarding signage,” Brezik said. “When is there enough signage? When do you need more?”
Council President David Vinzant, D-4th, also expressed concern that the surrounding businesses would be overwhelmed by the sign.
“I want to make sure (the existing businesses’) signs remain visible and they don’t get lost in a sea of signs,” said Vinzant, who cast the lone vote against the billboard rezoning.
Vinzant also worried that the billboard would make it even more difficult to navigate around the bank parking lot than it is now.
Merrillville attorney Richard Anderson said the sign would be placed on the grass on the Centier property at 3198 E. 81st Ave. and wouldn’t block existing signs at the Wal-mart or Sam’s Club behind the bank or hinder traffic at the bank itself.
The council unanimously approved the rezoning allowing a muffler shop to be operated by Santiago Vaca at 8500 E. 37th Ave. He will occupy a building that has been vacant a long time.
Councilman Pete Mendez, D-2nd, said he had no problem with the business, but said the city needs to look at traffic on St. Joseph Place, the intersecting street to the shop.
City planner A.J. Bytnar said the rezoning won’t make this site used any more intensely than in the past.
Other council action
The council also approved a six-month extension of a $10,000 temporary loan to the Maria Reiner Center and the city’s Americans with Disabilities Transition Plan.
Pam Broadaway, the center’s executive director, said the center has the money to pay back the loan, but she would like a little extra time for assurance’s sake. She said the center raised $88,000 during its first year of existence.
Building official Mike Hannigan said the approval of the ADA plan was the third of a three-phase process required of every municipality with 50 or more employees. He said the next steps are for Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission and the state to give their approval to the plan. Municipalities that don’t come up with an approve an ADA plan wouldn’t be eligible for any state or federal funding, Hannigan said.
Before taking any action at the meeting, Mayor Brian Snedecor read a poem in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that was written by a teacher’s wife, followed by a moment of silence.