WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Some West Lafayette residents said a recent rental property trend is having a negative impact on their neighborhood. New Chauncey homeowners are asking the city to enforce a sign ordinance.
Several signs throughout New Chauncey neighborhood in West Lafayette have got the eye of several residents, but not in a good way. Since about February, some homeowners said they've noticed an increase in rental property signs on homes. In fact, they said 64 houses in the neighborhood have signs permanently mounted on the walls. That's something they said is against county code.
"The R1 and R2 areas don't allow for what's known as wall signs. These could easily be construed as, a minimum of, a wall sign. If not, some kind of outdoor advertising," said Zachary Baiel, a New Chauncey resident.
Residents said these signs could be damaging to the neighborhood.
"We worry that when people are considering buying a home in this neighborhood, that they'll shy away from our street because it now looks like a student street. That will leave the homes for more landlords to buy up," said Colin William.
"In this community, you know, people are good neighbors to each other. We shovel each other's driveways, we get each other's mail when people go away, we watch each other's kids. But these signs, these are not very neighborly," said Tom Mustillo.
Mayor John Dennis said a couple of months ago, the city sent out an informative letter to property management companies and landlords explaining the sign ordinance.
"Since that time, there's been folks who have voluntarily taken down some of their signs and then there's been those that have been rather reluctant to. Again, we're talking about a relatively competitive market, so we feel we've done sort of our initial job in trying to inform," said Dennis.
Livesay is one property management company that has several homes in the neighborhood. They said their signs are in compliance with the ordinance. General Manager Brian Howard released this statement to News 18 about the issue:
"Livesay Management has checked all use of its signage and has taken action to ensure that we are within code due to the request from Mayor Dennis that was communicated to all of the local property management companies."
Dennis said the city will start talking to property management companies and landlords to get a better understanding of what their concept of the ordinance is. He said if they are clearly violating the code, the city will be writing citations.
Dennis said he thinks the competitive edge with the rental properties has increased since Granite Management painted a large banana on one of their homes last month. News 18 asked the residents if they felt the same way. They said the increase in signs throughout New Chauncey has been going on way before that.
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