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October 9, 2012

Commission approves downtown construction rules

Logansport council next to vote on them

LOGANSPORT — The Logansport Planning Commission approved a measure Monday to create uniformity among new additions and development downtown. It will now be brought before the full City Council for a vote.

Arin Shaver, Logansport-Cass County director of planning, said research for the changes in rules governing construction downtown have been a year in the making. She said work began when the downtown review board was dissolved.

“We took inventory of downtown and tried to figure out what standards it’s currently meeting,” she said. “We looked at what standards aren’t being met and what needed to change.”

Some of the additions and changes include: Setting rules for new construction or additions that define how far off the right of way a structure must be; defining height and length of awnings; signage sizes; a break down on how much of a lot can contain a structure and how much should be parking; and how much of the front facade can contain a business’ information, such as logo, address and phone number.

“I think that, to some extent, you have to let people figure that out on their own,” said commissioner Jeremy Ashcraft, who is also a City Councilman. Ashcraft was concerned the commission may be micro-managing the regulations on new signage downtown.

The commission agreed that awnings may include business information that does not exceed 50 percent of the size of the awning.

Shaver said the challenge is to have some uniformity and some leniency.

“It’s not that we want everyone to look the same,” she said. “That doesn’t work for the character of your community. What we want is some minimums and maximums so that people have a range of what they’re able to do in our downtown.”

Shaver suggested that those looking to develop downtown or construct an addition to call her office at 574-753-7775.

“If someone’s making a change to the exterior of their building, they should just call us,” she said. “We could help them through the process ... Basically we don’t want to have buildings that go in that are going to stand out or be an eyesore.”

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