WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Granite Management wanted to spruce up a piece of property. Chipped white paint was replaced by gray, and a large banana was added to the spot at 138 S. Chauncey Avenue in West Lafayette.
"It was getting to the point where it needed a new paint job and we decided, why not get a little creative with it?" Granite Management Manager Joel Brovont said.
That banana is catching the attention of West Lafayette officials who said it may not just be the piece of art Granite considers it.
West Lafayette City Attorney Eric Burns said this situation is as gray as the building's paint.
"Cases like this tend not to be clear-cut," Burns said. "Cases like this tend to be a gray area as to whether it is commercial speech or if it is protected First Amendment free expression."
Burns said he is currently trying to determine if the painting is considered a sign. Granite Management's logo is a banana.
If it is declared a sign, according to the Tippecanoe County Sign Ordinance it would have to be scaled back to about 20 square feet.
Brovont said it does promote the business, but it is not a sign.
"Sure it is going to promote brand awareness, which signs do, but I don't think it is unreasonable to think you can't do something that is artistic like a mural, and still promote brand awareness, and not necessarily be a sign," Brovont said.
"It is a whimsical kind of issue, but it is an important issue from a constitutional standpoint," Burns said. "It's an important issue from a regulation of signs standpoint."
Representatives from Granite and the city will meet this month to talk about the banana.
The Tippecanoe County Plan Commission also plans to meet this month and talk about if the banana is violating any ordinances.
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