Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 19, 2013

City: 15 billboards must come down

New ordinance says tornado-damaged signs can't be replaced.

The city of Kokomo’s effort to reduce the number of billboards in town was inadvertently aided by the Nov. 17 tornado.

The storm damaged 15 billboards within city limits and an ordinance passed in May requires the damaged advertising signs be removed entirely. For three private business owners, including Burkhart Advertising Inc., that means lost revenue. For the city, it means a slightly cleaner skyline.

The ordinance, passed by the city’s plan commission, gives sole discretion to determine whether a sign is “obsolete” to Kokomo Plan Commission Director Greg Sheline. In the days following the tornadoes, Sheline and his staff determined the signs were no longer up to code. That decision was upheld by the Kokomo Board of Public Works and Safety on Wednesday.

Burkhart Advertising Inc., which owns 11 of the 15 signs, spoke in opposition to the ordinance during Wednesday’s meeting.

Burkhart Vice President of Corporate Affairs and attorney Gavin Ferlic argued the company should be allowed to repair the billboards. The board upheld the decision largely because the ordinance states that any legal, non-conforming signs that suffer damage are not allowed to be repaired.

“The important part of the ordinance here is the fact that these signs have become obsolete,” City Attorney Lawrence McCormack said. “[The ordinance] prohibits off-premise signs, which are billboards. Because these are now prohibited signs within the city of Kokomo, the planning commission cannot issue a sign permit to repair the sign — it’s a prohibited sign. Once it came down, there’s no way it can go back up.”

Ferlic argued the ordinance states a sign should only be removed if it is in “dilapidated, decayed or rotting condition [and] shall become dangerous to public or private safety or property or has been rendered obsolete.”

“Dilapidated is not defined in the ordinance,” Ferlic said, noting the signs were not in poor condition due to a lack of care. “With that in mind, I do not think being damaged by a tornado is dilapidated.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • North split restrictions on Monday The Indiana Department of Transportation will restrict traffic at the single-lane ramp that connects U.S. 31 to southbound Ind. 931 on the north side of Kokomo — weather permitting — on Monday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remedial repairs along the 200-

    April 16, 2014

  • BK rebuild 04 Peru restaurant B-K West rebuilding after tornado

    PERU -- B-K West is more than just a drive-in restaurant to its owner, J.D. Hann. It's a piece of his childhood, a historic Peru landmark, and it's his baby. "I grew up with this place," the 57-year-old Peru native said. "We used to walk the tracks o

    April 16, 2014 7 Photos

  • Congresswoman Susan Brooks backs manufacturing training efforts Congresswoman Susan Brooks' own personal manufacturing experience may have been limited to three months in a Kendallville caramel factory as a college student, but in her congressional roles, she's having an impact on the skills debate. In Kokomo Tue

    April 16, 2014

  • Superintendent of Ind Ed 01 State Superintendent Glenda Ritz visits Peru, discusses new standards

    PERU -- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said Tuesday she is comfortable with the quick pace at which new academic standards are moving from concept to classroom. The Indiana Department of Education released a final draft of new

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Chrysler CEO will headline Tipton plant opening Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will preside over the grand opening of the company's fifth north central Indiana plant, the Tipton Transmission Plant, at a ceremony May 13, company officials announced Tuesday. In February 2013, Chrysler announced it w

    April 16, 2014

  • More than 70 businesses participate in annual job fair More than 70 local businesses got a look at the workforce of tomorrow during Tuesday's Kokomo Area Job Fair at the Ivy Tech Kokomo Event & Conference Center. The event, put on as a partnership between Indiana University Kokomo and Ivy Tech Community

    April 16, 2014

  • Kokomo episode of 'My First Home' airs Saturday A cautious cat-lover will search for the perfect house in Kokomo on Saturday's episode of "My First Home" on TLC. The episode airs at noon and features Kokomo real estate agent Gena Martin and first-time homebuyer Steven Underwood. In its description

    April 16, 2014

  • Easter basket workshop Thursday Generous individuals and businesses in town donated enough candy, games and books to fill more than 500 Easter baskets at this year's Tom Carey Easter Basket Workshop. The workshop starts at 10 a.m. Thursday. Any families that are strapped for cash t

    April 16, 2014

  • IUK to give Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne honorary degree Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will be at Indiana University Kokomo’s May 13 commencement to accept an honorary degree from Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, IUK officials announced. In a statement, McRobbie credited Marchionne with engi

    April 15, 2014

  • Cheryl Marner aims to cross finish line during this year's Boston Marathon Cheryl Marner was a mile from the finish line at last year's Boston Marathon when all of the runners in front of her suddenly stopped. The race had come to a halt, and at the time, she didn't know why. "There was a lot of confusion," she said. "I hea

    April 15, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.