The Rolla Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday evening voted to recommend changes in the sign ordinance, approval of a plat and abandoning an easement in a subdivision to the Rolla City Council.

The Rolla Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday evening voted to recommend changes in the sign ordinance, approval of a plat and abandoning an easement in a subdivision to the Rolla City Council.

"Our sign code is a generous code," Community Development Director John Petersen told the commission during the discussion in which he recommended four changes to clarify requirements and define terms more fully in Section 42-244 of the Rolla City Code.

In that discussion, which preceded a public hearing, Petersen noted there were four sections being changed:

• "It is good to have good definitions," Petersen said of the first section of changes. These changes define what is actually meant by "sign" and "premise" and what the classifications or categories of signs the city accepts.

• A second section lists those signs that are exempt from the regulations, such as handicapped parking signs. "That should have been done before," Petersen said. Also added to the revised sign code: monuments signs that help identify areas and public artwork, such as a mural.

• Other changes in general sign provisions are recommended for setbacks, i.e. distance from boundary lines, and in acceptable uses of electronic signs.

• Finally, there is a section regarding non-conforming signs, which are signs that were in place before the sign code was put into effect June 1, 1999, but which have become unlawful since, owing to previous changes in the code. The code currently requires those signs to be removed by June 1 of this year. Petersen's changes propose eliminating that deadline.

No voices were raised for or against the sign code changes in the public hearing. Afterwards, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the changes to the council. Voting were Commissioners Dennis Bennett, Robert Anderson, Russell Schmidt, Greg Sawyer, Janese Martin, Monte Shields and Don Brown.

They also all voted to recommend approval by the council of the final plat for Blue's Lake Plat No. 10. This is the tract of land where a 110-bed nursing home is planned next to the lake. It is owned by Jack Dietzmann, 10520 Research Drive, a Rolla property developer.

Petersen said the subdivision is required for the construction of a street, Joan Drive, on the property. There are three lots in the subdivision; one is six acres, another is 3.9 and a third is 1.6 acres. All are zoned C-3.

The Development Review Committee met Nov. 27 to review the preliminary plat." Rolla Municipal Utilities requested water frontage fees of $4.34 per foot for the two lots fronting on Bridge School Road," Petersen said. The amounts due are $629.30 and $685.72.

"Public Works Department requested corrections to the subdivision plat along with land development permit fees," Petersen said. The fees total $2,487.

The commission approved the preliminary plat on Dec. 11 and the final plat Tuesday night. Final approval is up to the council.

The commission approved the vacation of a 20-foot utility easement in the Deer Crossing East Subdivision as well as a 10-foot utility easement in the adjacent La Chateau Place Subdivision owned by Zachary and Nicky Robinson, 505 E. First St. A new 10 foot utility easement in La Chateau Place will replace the vacated easements.

RMU and the Public Works Department have reviewed and approved this action, Petersen noted.

In final action, the commission approved the re-election of the current officers: Chairman Paul Stigall, Vice Chairman Don Brown and Secretary-Treasurer Robert Anderson.

"I've been chair for a number of years," said Stigall. "There's been some criticism that I've chaired too long." He said he would be willing to chair the commission, but he also would be willing to turn the gavel over to another member.

No other member jumped up eagerly to take over the chairmanship.

"You're doing a good job," one member said.

"It wouldn't be the same without you," said another.

Stigall and the other officers will serve again in 2013, the commission voted.

At the Dec. 11 Planning and Zoning Commission, Petersen reported City Administrator John Butz had given him an assignment to prepare an historical preservation ordinance. The Phelps County Historical Society has reviewed the ordinance; the State Historical Society is looking it over. The Planning and Zoning Commission will review it when the state society is finished.