City breaks own rules by building sign

By Scott Harvey - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LaGRANGE, KY (WAVE) - A sign in front of LaGrange City Hall is causing some controversy. The city's historic commission says the taxpayer funded sign breaks laws put in place by the city itself.

It's a subject that really brings a laugh out of everyone involved. But it's no laughing matter that LaGrange taxpayer money may have been wasted on a sign. You could say the city of LaGrange made a big "Uh Oh."

"We are put into a tough situation because it's a nice looking sign," said LaGrange city councilman Tom Goldsmith. "But it doesn't meet the historic guidelines."

Building the sign to mark the James T. Beaumont Community Center actually broke the law city officials themselves put in place.

"It goes against the dimension requirements and the lightning requirements," said Linda Corbin, a member of the city's historic district commission.

The sign wasn't cheap. It cost $11,000 of taxpayer money. Corbin says the city finally came to the commission for approval after the sign had already been ordered and the brick laid. The commission denied the request.

"Short while later, like days, it was all just like this," Corbin said pointing to the finished sign.

Now comes the real question. What to do with it?

"If it's somebody else's sign and we didn't pay for it, the taxpayers, it was at someone's private residence, if it didn't meet up to code what would you do then?  And that's where the tough situation comes in and we would probably lend to tear it down," said Goldsmith. "I hope we can come up with maybe a compromise. Maybe modify the sign, so both sides can win."

"Our problem isn't necessarily with the sign," said Corbin. She says there is a bigger issue.

"It's very disrespectful to us as a commission," said Corbin. "We are all volunteers. We put our time and energy into upholding their rules and then they don't."

There will be a public hearing on June 1 to decide the future of the sign.

(Copyright 2009 by WAVE-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)