Thursday, July 29, 2004

Loveland may ease its rules on signs



By Sheila McLaughlin
Enquirer staff writer

LOVELAND - Business was better, the owner says, when the sandwich board was out front advertising Saturday breakfast and specials at Aralia restaurant on the crowded Loveland-Madeira strip of shopping centers, auto repair shops and other storefronts.

But the city put a stop to the sign, telling Triset DeFonseka that it wasn't allowed unless she paid $50 for a permit that was good for no more than two weeks.

About a mile away, in the historic business district, sandwich boards sit out in front of bars, gift shops and coffee houses all day, every day. It's free. The city allows it to help revitalize the area near the bike trail.

"That's not fair. We always talk about it. Everybody must be treated alike," DeFonseka said Wednesday.

Discontent over sign restrictions in the Loveland-Madeira business corridor could get a sympathetic ear as a citizens' advisory committee reviews the city's zoning code and makes recommendations to council.

Chamber officials asked the committee Tuesday to consider easing restrictions on the use of sandwich-board advertising in the district, and to consider other sign changes.

"Loveland-Madeira Road business owners often feel second-best to historic district businesses," Paulette Leeper, executive director of the Loveland Area Chamber of Commerce, told the citizens committee that asked for suggestions on changes in the zoning code.

Committee member John Hill said Leeper's request was reasonable.

Ken Rutz, owner of Hitch's Deli & Catering and Zappz Sports Cafe, is skeptical that any changes will come about. He has been in business on Loveland-Madeira for 13 years.

"They are trying to make old Loveland like Hyde Park Junior, but that doesn't make businesses survive around here," Rutz said.

E-mail smclaughlin@enquirer.com




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