Up for debate at tonight’s Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals meeting will be a special exception for Gilbert and Rosella Hawkins. The Hawkins have maintained a home business in their home on East Fort Wayne Street since 2001, but it has only recently become an issue.
Since the city’s sign ordinance has become a hot issue for the city, the Hawkins have been jumping through hoops just to be allowed to have a 1-square-foot sign in their front yard. They estimated they’ve paid out more than $100 in having legal notices published and they still don’t have an answer as to whether they can have a sign advertising their hand-painted China business.
The Hawkins were granted their home-based business in 2001 and were told at that time they could have a sign non illuminated and mounted flat against their home. However, Rosella says it was also during that time when she spoke with someone in the city planning department who told her she could have a small sign in her yard.
But their small sign has been plagued by suspicious activity.
When the city first targeted car dealerships in 2003 about their use of signs, the Hawkins’ sign was stolen from their yard. In January 2011, shortly after the couple received a letter from Warsaw Building Commissioner Todd Slabaugh saying a BZA member complained about their new sign – which was mounted on steel posts in their yard – the sign was vandalized and spray painted.
The couple will go before the Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals tonight, hoping to finally have an answer to their sign dilemma.
The Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers for its regular monthly meeting. The meeting will likely focus on the sign ordinance, which is still being tweaked by the board.
Public input is requested at the meetings.