Greenville working to allow outdoor displays


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:22 am on Friday, March 29, 2013

GREENVILLE — After a business owner was turned down due to ordinance regulations when he requested to display his products in front of his building, the Greenville Planning Commission is discussing ways to work with business owners on outdoor displays.

Last fall, the Planning Commission was asked by Barn Cats owner Randy Mouw to display his products in front of his building while displaying vehicles and trailers on occasion at 1100 N. Irving St. in Greenville.

“Problems with the ordinance prevented (the Planning Commission) from allowing him (to display the products),” said Assistant City Manager Cameron Van Wyngarden.

However, because many businesses do display items in front of their stores without a problem, but actually go against current city ordinances, the commissioners are working to make an ordinance suitable for most.

During Thursday night’s Planning Commission meeting, members looked at ways to allow outdoor displays in front of businesses. The members decided most of the displays that are currently in front of businesses are not harming anyone and they help promote the business.

Tim Johnson of MainStreet Planning drafted an ordinance in hopes to accommodate most business owners without allowing situations to get out of control.

“This is a use permitted by right,” Johnson said. “We are trying to make it easy for the business community.”

The ordinance would apply to all three commercial zones. However, the ordinance is not final. Johnson encouraged the commissioners to take what has been written and observe what they see throughout the city, noting to bring back ideas at the April 11 meeting to make sure they are including all possibilities.

“I am just trying to see the big picture,” said Chairman David Ralph, noting he did not want to approve the ordinance Thursday and have businesses start turning into unpleasant sights.

Both Johnson and Van Wyngarden said they do not believe the new ordinance will cause many business owners to start operating differently, but would allow those who are operating in a positive away against the ordinance to be within the new policy.

More discussion will take place at the next meeting.

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