"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."
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.