"It's definitely not hampering business," says Conque of Bloomington's strict commercial landscape regulations. "If anything it's helping because they are booming."
He now hopes some of the same principles are on their way to being integrated throughout Lafayette.
"It's a growing trend across the nation to address the aesthetic value of a community," he says. "I think we need a new sign ordinance. It's one element of smart growth. It's a visual step to improving the whole community."
The City-Parish Council has already adopted its strictest zoning regulations to date, including a ban on pole signs, for a new stretch of development coming to the recently opened portion of Louisiana Avenue connecting to Interstate 10. Now the council is considering additional sign restrictions across the parish.
At its last meeting, the council was scheduled to vote on an ordinance limiting all new commercial signs to a height of 30 feet. That ordinance has now been tabled in favor of a more comprehensive study on the issue. After the study is complete, the City-Parish Planning, Zoning and Codes Department will then schedule public hearings on any newly drafted sign ordinance.
Conque says he would like to see the parish explore a monument sign requirement for some areas of Lafayette. City-Parish President Durel has also suggested a move to less obtrusive signs and is pushing for a property tax break for businesses that agree to change their signs ahead of any imposed deadline. Durel, who used to own a retail pet store, says he understands signage can be expensive for small businesses. "I'd like to see us use a carrot, an incentive [for businesses to adopt smaller signs]," he says.
Councilman Lenwood Broussard has also requested that all local sign companies be involved in any plans to revamp the parish sign ordinance. He says he is concerned a sign height limit of 30 feet may be too restrictive for some parish businesses, such as those located off interstates and frontage roads. "I'm really not a pro on this," Broussard says. "But when you think about it, 30 feet, that's not that high."
Councilman Chris Williams, who proposed the across-the-board 30-foot height limit on signs, now agrees that some concessions may need to be made for certain businesses. "We're trying to come up with something that is middle of the road that both parties feel is reasonable," he says. "I don't think we'll ever be a monument sign community."
One model the Planning and Zoning Commission is likely to look at is Lafayette's neighboring city of Carencro. In February, Carencro adopted a new ordinance that, with the exception of interstate property, limits all new businesses to using monument signs. Mayor Glenn Brasseaux says the city first tried to enact a law requiring monument signs for all new and existing businesses three years ago, before local retailers squashed the proposal.
"The retailers were just all up in arms," he says. The resulting compromise was to grandfather in all existing signs. "So, a lot of people say, 'Well you really didn't do anything,'" Brasseaux adds. "But at least it's a start."
Conque says he understands the resistance to change from local retailers, but insists that the alternative may be worse. "People say we have enough rules and regulations," he says. "Well, we didn't have any rules and regulations and look what happened to Johnston Street."
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.
With her political future in jeopardy, Sen. Mary Landrieu is turning to a natural constituent base in her re-election bid.
Terrance Broadway threw for a touchdown and rushed for 113 yards to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to a 34-10 victory over Texas State on Tuesday night.
Aligned with the party of an unpopular president, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu sought to keep her distance from the Obama administration, against claims from her chief Republican challenger Bill Cassidy that a vote to re-elect the Democratic incumbent was a vote for Barack Obama.
Seven people in Louisiana and two others in Mississippi have been arrested in connection with an international online sales scam.
Despite the hype and potential misinformation to have spread in the wake of Mark Cockerham’s recent departure from the LPSB, his candidacy for reelection is still on — now with the backing of the Chamber's Empower PAC.