Mount Pleasant mural in zoning limbo

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC - A popular Mt. Pleasant mural is in danger of having to be removed after the Board of Zoning Appeals upheld the zoning administrator's decision that Moe's mural violates the local sign ordinance.

Monday's vote was 4 to 3.

"The mural is beautiful," council member Mark Smith said. "Marilyn Monroe, Al Capone and John Lennon have nothing to do with selling burritos or nachos."
That's why Smith is pushing to keep the mural in its place at the Houston Northcutt Blvd. business.

He rallied community support online after learning the wall violates the town's sign policy, using the hashtag #SaveMoesMural. Smith said the mural's not a sign, it's art.

"There's nothing about the current mural that advertises Moe's business," Smith said. "Other than being a beautiful piece of art, we hope stays there."

Smith said Monday's appeal was overturned as the board determined the mural was a sign and not public art. 

Franchise owner Cary Chastain said his intention was to beautify the blank wall with something that'd be more appealing to passersby.

Yet, some critics said he should have checked with the town before painting.

According to officials, the zoning administrator said the mural does meet the town's definition of a sign and thus is subject to special regulations including size.

"The current sign ordinance reads that anything that draws attention," Smith said, adding that it may be time to re-visit such ordinances.
"Government should be working for these small businesses, not against them," Smith said. "This is a beautiful example of how sometimes there can be an overreach of government."

Smith has requested the mural be placed on the police legal and judicial committee of town council for further discussion and review. 

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