TUSCUMBIA — A proposal to have a sign in front of Helen Keller Public Library that would include a reader board along the bottom appears to be headed to the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustments.
Members of the Friends of the Helen Keller Public Library attended Monday’s City Council meeting hoping the council would grant a request to change a city ordinance that forbids such signs in the city’s historic downtown area.
The group had presented the proposal to the Planning Commission a week earlier and the commission approved sending it to the council for a vote.
However, Mayor Kerry Underwood told them Monday they should ask for a variance to the ordinance, which requires approval from the Zoning Adjustments board.
That agitated members of the group, who told Underwood they had gone to the Planning Commission on his recommendation.
The mayor told them he does not remember saying that, but apologized if he did.
“I apologize for that and I know that’s going to delay you,” Underwood said.
The library at 511 N. Main St. was chartered Oct. 13, 1893, making it the first library that was chartered in Alabama, and Friends members are planning a major anniversary celebration in October and want to be certain the sign is in place by then.
The mayor stressed he supports the idea for the sign, but the library is owned by the city and he believes city buildings should be held to the same city requirements as other buildings.
“One of the things I like about this sign is it is very appropriate,” Underwood said.
The ordinance restricts “flashing, blinking, revolving or rotating” elements to a sign in the historic district.
Friends member Tommy Crosslin said the sign ordinance already has been violated because some of those elements are part of the scoreboard at Howard Chappell Stadium.
City attorney Harold Hughston III explained to the group the process that is needed to request a variance to…