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Debate Over Business Sign Sizes, Parking Passes Reignited at New Ludlow Council

It was discussed at the Ludlow City Council caucus meeting on Thursday night to repeal the ordinance that the city just passed in August that allows signs for businesses to be up to 60 square feet in area. In a tense meeting last year, the sign size increase ordinance passed by a 3-2 margin.

The ordinance was passed to allow Ludlow Pharmacy on Elm Street to put up a sign larger than the previous limit set of 25 square feet, but now that three new members have been elected since then, the current council would like to go back to the old regulation of 25 square feet, it appears.

The Northern Kentucky Planning Commission recommended that the limit remain at 25 square feet prior to the change in August in order to help preserve the small-town charm of Ludlow.

Ludlow City Administrator Elishia Chamberlain said that a new ordinance must be enacted in order to go back to 25 square feet and that city council also must pass the ordinance before they can move forward on the city's facade program that will offer forgivable loans to businesses located within the Elm Street District. Business owners will be able to apply for up to $5,000 towards facade improvements that meet certain guidelines for historic preservation. They must have a 50/50 match for the funds.

Each year of business, 20 percent of the funds are forgiven, and if they maintain the business for five years, the entire loan is forgiven. 

It was anticipated that the program would be ready to launch by this month but the potential change to the language of the sign regulations is currently holding up that process. The council agreed to have the language in place by the next regular meeting in order to pass a new ordinance that would return business signage to 25 square feet.

The City is also rethinking its approach to the city's parking stickers for registered Ludlow vehicles. Chamberlain said that currently the city must enforce city stickers for all vehicles in Ludlow, including visitors and customers from other cities. Previously, Ludlow Police enforced the parking regulations on the city stickers during third shift, hoping not to discourage shoppers and visitors in the city. Chamberlain explained that this was not compliant with the  sticker rule and that a text amendment would be needed to change or to do away with the program.

She said that the money that the stickers bring in to the city do not match the cost of attorney fees and extra police enforcement. She also said that it would be important to consider the time officers would need in order to enforce parking of every vehicle in the city when their time might be better served dealing with more serious criminal concerns such as the area's recent heroin crisis.  

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo: Ludlow Pharmacy/RCN file