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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2006
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Board denies new motel use of old sign

By Melanie B. Smith
msmith@decaturdaily.com 340-2468

A tall sign that the former Day's Inn used for years to attract drivers on U.S. 31 near the Tennessee River won't be used as it exists by the new Motel 6.

The sign at 810 Sixth Ave. N.E. does not conform to the city sign ordinance.

On Thursday, the Board of Zoning Adjustment denied Mukesn Desai a variance to use the existing framework.

Bob Baker of Memphis lobbied for the sign, which is in an adjacent parking lot, saying that the motel needs its height and location to draw in drivers.

The motel owners had to remove all of the sign materials inside the framework because of Day's Inn restrictions and rights.

But a reworked sign would still be off-premises, and planner Karen Smith said the ordinance does not allow new off-site signs.

The board also denied an appeal by architect William Aycock for a setback variance to allow additional self-storage units at 253 E. Moulton St.

A&M Mini Storage is in a B-5 central business zone.

The board approved another setback variance, however, for a fire station at 1602 16th Ave.S.E.

Architect Fred Underwood said the 20-foot side yard variance will allow the new station to be constructed without having to tear down the old one beforehand.

Horses in city

Another property owner, Minnie Wheeler, withdrew an application for a variance involving horses kept on her property.

She applied for a use variance to construct a barn on her lot and a variance to keep the horses.

The horses are in a residential area at 628 14th Ave. S.W.

Building Department Director Jimmy Brothers and City Attorney Herman Marks Jr. said the rezoning board is not the right forum for Wheeler. They and other city officials advised Wheeler to seek rezoning for the property to AG-1, to allow horses and structures needed to care for them.

She and George Wheeler said that relatives had kept horses at the site for 35 or 40 years. Several neighbors spoke on their behalf at the meeting, saying they had no objections to the horses and noting that Minnie Wheeler had improved the property since she inherited it.

The Wheelers said they will apply for rezoning.

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