Confusion Abounds Regarding Outdoor Displays in Knox

Knox City Council
Knox City Council

The Knox City Council last night had a difficult time explaining the desired effect of an amendment to the zoning ordinance regarding outdoor displays. When the owner of Smith Farm Stores in Knox approached the council asking about a portion of the amendment that indicates outdoor displays can only display items that are “in season,” such as jack o’ lanterns in fall or Christmas items in the winter, the question of how items that are not explicitly seasonal would be classified.

Smith told the council that he has many items that are more inter-seasonal, like landscaping equipment and supplies, that can’t be easily described as fitting for a single season. City attorney Dave Matsey tried to explain it as, “Whatever landscaping season is, that’s the correct season,” but that didn’t do much to alleviate the confusion.

Mayor Rick Chambers asked Bruce Williams to visit Smith Farm Stores in the next week to discuss with business officials what falls under the ordinance and what does not. Councilman Ron Parker asked if his items could be moved from the front of the store to a storage area toward the south, and brought back out every day. Smith said he expects this would be labor intensive, having to move these items back and forth daily.

“We’re trying to make this ordinance work with you,” Chambers said.

The current ordinance does not allow for outdoor displays, and the council expressed that this amendment is to help create something manageable for business owners.

Chambers asked Williams to work with business owners to get an idea of how this ordinance would best be enacted. If approved on its final reading, the permit for outdoor displays will cost $25 for a full calendar year.

The council approved the amendment on its second reading, with its third reading to be finalized on March 25.