New rules would rule out ‘Frosty’ inflatable snowman

Sep. 04, 2013 @ 10:47 AM

The 35-foot-tall inflatable snowman that caused controversy in Lenoir last winter could be gone for good, as a proposed change to city code that will be the subject of a public hearing Oct. 1.

Nicknamed “Frosty,” the snowman was erected on the corner of Morganton Boulevard and Mulberry Street by Larry Smith, owner of Mountain Top Fraser Fir, who was selling Christmas trees there.

When city officials asked him to remove the snowmen, Smith refused, accruing $50-a-day fines from the city, totaling approximately $1,500. Smith appealed the fine but lost.

The snowman was considered a temporary sign under the current city code, which includes “decorative displays for holidays.” Under the proposed new code, an inflatable like Frosty would be defined as a temporary advertising device, which would be allowed only with a permit.

The current ordinance limits temporary signs to 32 square feet, which the new ordinance would maintain, but the proposed changes also would restrict inflatable displays to a height of 20 feet, or equal with the tallest structure on the site, whichever is more restrictive.

Further, the proposal would allow temporary advertising devices to be displayed for only seven days, unless granted special permission from the city, such as in the instance of a special holiday. But even in that case, the maximum time for the display would be only 30 days.

In other business Tuesday night, the city council approved a floodplain development permit, submitted by Stimmel Associates. allowing the redevelopment of the McDonald’s at 110 Morganton Boulevard. Council also approved the rezoning of three city properties, changing 308, 312 and 318 Morganton Boulevard from neighborhood business to general business.