"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."
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.