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Stop the badgering: Not all murals are signs

Atascadero

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It’s time for Atascadero to stop bullying local businesses for decorating their walls with murals. Two and a half years ago, the city threatened K-Man Cycle & Run with hundreds of dollars in fees and fines per day for its mural. Now, it’s threatening a downtown art-supply store, The ARTery, demanding it paint over its mural or face fines, and pay $460 to mount an appeal (“Vibrant mural irks Atascadero,” June 28).

Contrary to some claims, this conflict isn’t about errant business owners. It’s about the city’s failure to adopt a mural policy separate from its sign ordinance.

On Feb. 23, 2010, the City Council ignored the staff report warning that the conflict between “signs” and “art” could become “high profile issues,” and declined to choose the option to “create a new process outside of the sign ordinance for the review and approval of murals.”

It also ignored the majority of people who spoke in favor of recognizing the difference between murals and signs and advocated separate procedures.

The ARTery mural isn’t a “sign” according to the city’s sign ordinance, which defines them as serving specific commercial purposes.

It’s time to demand that the city adopt a policy on murals and quit badgering our businesses for beautifying their buildings.

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

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