Mural moratorium passed

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A mural planned for City Hall will be postponed after a moratorium on murals was passed Monday.

The moratorium, introduced by Councilman Daniel Galeski, prohibits any murals or wall paintings until a city ordinance covering murals is reviewed.

Galeski proposed the motion after Planning Commission member Lawrence Tavernier proposed amending an existing ordinance prohibiting murals, but classifying them as signs.

“You have to go back to what the definition of a sign is,” City Attorney William Look said. “Someone could say a mural on the entire side of a building is not a sign, it’s decoration. I think that’s where the distinction has to be made.”

The proposed amendment would define the terms “mural,” and “wall painting,” and add restrictions for murals, which currently are restricted only by the votes of the Design Review Board, which covers the downtown district. Councilwoman Sheri Sutherby Fricke said she was concerned that several murals already exist in the downtown area.

“They’re beautiful and they’re colorful and they’re nice,” Fricke said. “But if they never came through the proper procedures, why are they existing?”

The discussion came after the council approved a mural by the Downtown Development Authority planned for the side of the City Hall building last week. City councilors voted to accept the proposal pending the approval of the Planning Commission and Design Review Board.

But Tavernier said the item was removed from the agenda at an Oct. 20 planning commission meeting, as requested by DDA director Natalie Rankine because the commission did not have authority over murals. The Design Review Board had not yet met to discuss the mural as of Monday’s meeting