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New Sign Puts Howell’s Name on Activity Center

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

Rendering of the proposed sign for the Ulysses “Coach” Howell Activity Center approved Monday by the Oxford Planning Commission.
Rendering provided by the city of Oxford

The Ulysses “Coach” Howell Activity Center will soon have a sign to light the way for all community members to find Oxford’s newest rec building.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Planning Commission approved a variance from the Land Development Code in regards to signing sizes to allow the activity center a larger sign on the front of the activity center where it faces Price Street.

According to city code, the maximum size of a wall sign should be 200 square feet. The sign requested by the city for the activity center is 360 square feet. The sign has the city’s logo on top and then the name, Ulysses “Coach” Howell Activity Center on three lines of text with Howell being the centerline with the largest font.

The letters of the sign will be backlit.

While the commission did vote to approve the sign variance, it wasn’t without some concerns by several commissioners and lengthy discussion during the board’s meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioner Judy Riddell said the commission has denied similar requests by commercial businesses who wanted large signs so their business was more visible.

“I don’t want to see the city get special treatment,” Riddell said. “I’m not against it. But all the arguments the city has put forward to approve it, are the same exact arguments businesses bring to us.”

City Planner Ben Requet pointed out that this is the only sign on both the old activity center and the new building.

“It’s almost as if they are requesting their ability to take their square footage from the old building and apply it here,” Requet told the commission. “And as far as I’ve been told there’s no intent to put any other signs up.”

Mark Levy, with the Public Works Department, argued the variance should be granted partly because it is not for a commercial business, but rather for a community building that honors long-time alderman, the late Ulysses “Coach” Howell.

Commissioner Marvin King said he was willing to support the variance but also thinks the code needs to be “looked at” and made clearer so that so many variances aren’t being issued in regards to signs.

“We’re making exceptions all the time,” King said.


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