Farmers and Merchants State Bank sign replacement must start from scratch

By Jennie ZeitlerStaff Writer

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When Farmers and Merchants State Bank (F and M) submitted paperwork to the city of Pierz asking for approval to replace their sign, the request did not go through the Planning and Zoning Board because it was for replacement of an existing sign, Mayor Toby Egan said at the Pierz City Council meeting Monday.

“But according to city ordinance, signs are supposed to be five feet back from any lot line,” Egan said.

Bob Wolfe, representative for Indigo Sign Works, which installed the new sign, said that when he submitted the request, he told the Pierz building official that the replacement sign would be adjacent to the existing sign footing, and no closer to the road than the old sign.

“The new sign is actually four feet back from the old sign,” Wolfe said. “Once we started drilling, a huge piece of buried concrete was found and we had to keep moving over toward the bank building.”

“You can’t really use the old sign as a guide for the new sign, because the old sign was seven feet up in the air and was not an obstruction,” said Egan.

“The bottom line is, the new sign is a zoning infraction, besides being an obstruction,” he said. “The base of the new sign is another three feet further forward than the old sign’s base.”

Egan pointed out that no building official was called to do an inspection once the footings for the sign were in place, or the issue would have been discovered.

“I didn’t think that in a town of 1,400 I would need to call for an inspection,” Wolfe said.

“This isn’t just a Pierz issue; the building code is statewide,” said Egan.

“To redo the sign would involve starting over with a new hole, disassembling the sign involving undoing numerous welds and reinstalling,” said Wolfe. “That would run about $4,500 to $5,000.

A letter from the Pierz city attorney was sent to the bank stating that the sign must be moved.

Egan suggested that he and other council members, a planning and zoning board member, a bank representative and the permit holder meet and decide how to move forward with resolution of the problem.

“With everything that F and M has done for the city, we are willing to work with them in every way to get that done,” Egan said.

“F and M is continuing to work with the Pierz City Council to reach an amicable solution regarding their concerns about the location of our new sign,” said Bank President Merlin Bruns.