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Council amends rule that blocked Duluth East inscription

The new Duluth East High School building may be adorned with an inscription after all, thanks to the actions of the Duluth City Council. Councilors revised a city sign ordinance tonight, opening the door for the Duluth School District to stick to...

The new Duluth East High School building may be adorned with an inscription after all, thanks to the actions of the Duluth City Council.

Councilors revised a city sign ordinance tonight, opening the door for the Duluth School District to stick to its original plans that include an inscription in concrete wall panels reading, "The foundation of every state is the education of its youth."

Earlier, the Board of Zoning Appeals had ruled the engraved message violated the city's sign ordinance.

The school district asked the City Council to overturn that decision.

"We don't believe the ordinance was intended to prohibit this kind of inspirational inscription," said Kerry Leider, the school district's facilities director. He pointed out that the engraved message would not be highlighted or illuminated.

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Rather than overturn the decision of the Board of Zoning of Appeals, the council changed the ordinance itself, voting 9-0 to do so.

In its revised form, the sign ordinance provides for an exemption that would allow for inscriptions on any publicly owned building when such inscription is incorporated into the architectural design as a permanent feature and as long as they have been approved by a public body. Although the City Council approved amending the ordinance, the change won't take effect until 30 days after a legal notice is published.

Until that time has passed, the school district will need to put installation of the engraved concrete panels on hold. Leider said this course of action was acceptable to the school district, although it would have preferred to have the Board of Zoning of Appeals' ruling overturned.

Related Topics: CONGDON PARKEDUCATION
Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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