Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 13, 2014

City to remove more signs

Board of Works approves removal of abandoned signs.

By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — The city’s mission to remove signs and billboards from the Kokomo skyline continued Wednesday with the approval of sending city crews to four properties to remove abandoned signs.

The properties are the latest to receive removal notices since the Board of Public Works and Safety upheld the city’s decision in December to order 15 billboards damaged by tornadoes on Nov. 17 be taken down.

The signs — located at 1003 N. Washington St., 1209 E. Markland Ave., 908 Belvedere Drive and 1704 W. Boulevard — are just some of the 40 abandoned signs that have been identified by city Planning Director Greg Sheline and his crews for removal. Sheline indicated the city already has worked with owners of 20 of those properties to have the signs removed.

“We have almost 40 abandoned signs that we’re working on right now,” Sheline said. “These are the four that we either didn’t get any response from or didn’t get a satisfactory response from.”

The ordinance states if “the business which [a sign] advertises is no longer conducted on the premises” the sign must be removed.

If the owner or lessee fails to remove the sign, the planning director will give the owner 30 days written notice to remove it. If the sign is not removed, the planning director may remove it.

Sheline estimated that between 80 and 90 signs eventually will be considered abandoned within the city and said crews continue to find more all of the time.

“We’ll keep working on them,” Sheline said. “After we’ve got those done, we’ve probably got another 40. I think we have about 80 or 90 [billboards] altogether. I don’t think the city has ever gone after abandoned signs before. This is new ground.”

The city also continues to work with advertising companies that own billboards damaged by tornadoes to have them removed.

Perma Advertising, which owns two of the billboards damaged by the tornadoes, was granted a 30-day extension as it continues to negotiate with the city to repair one of its signs that wasn’t completely destroyed. Both of those signs are located on the lot of Eriks Chevrolet off Ind. 931.

Burkhart Advertising Inc., which owns 11 of the billboards destroyed by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and JR Promotions LLC., which owns the other two, continue to work with the city on removing their billboards fter receiving notices in December.

Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, martin.slagter@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @slagterm.