By Jay Mejia

The City of Lee’s Summit Planning Commission took up discussion about the ongoing debate over the ‘Bout Thyme Deli’s sandwich sign during its meeting June 20.

At issue is whether the sandwich depiction on the side of the building located at 210 S.E. Douglas St., created for a foodservice establishment owned by Dave Kemp at the site is wall art and must adhere to the city’s commercial sign ordinance or is an artistic mural.

Bob McKay, Planning and Development Director for the City of Lee’s Summit said his staff had contacted nearby municipalities about their experiences in regulating wall murals and commercial signs.

“Blue Springs told us they would allow for a sandwich sign if it did not speak to the specifics of the business,” McKay told the commission. “A bike shop could have a bike if it did not say a word. If a sandwich sign is painted on an outside wall and inside the same sandwich is being made, that would be a commercial wall sign.”

McKay said the city staff will develop a new ordinance to clarify what constitutes a mural to further differentiate it from a painted wall sign. Staff will then bring the language of the ordinance to the commission’s attention for its review and possible approval.

Topics of prohibited mural and wall sign types, building surface preparation standards and maintenance and design standards will be addressed under new proposed amended Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Planning Commissioner Jason Norbury cautioned that the Central Business District’s design standards not be enforced or by Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, whose design standards committee has recommended clarifications for what constitutes a mural and what is a commercial wall sign. DLSMS is a not-for-profit organization partially funded by the city.

That would be a matter for the city to legally decide, he said.

Staff of DLSMS were not at hand for the commission’s discussions during the meeting since they were participating in their own annual meeting, city officials said.