Jeff city council okays directional signage for pair of businesses

Places more requirements to meet after detailed DOT application process

A pair of longtime Jefferson businesses will be allowed to have directional signs to their businesses posted in the city-owned right-of-way, but only after completing a permit process and paying additional costs.

The Jefferson city council at its Aug. 11 meeting approved placing signs for the Stitch and McAtee Tire & Service as part of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s TODS (tourist-oriented directional signing) program. The council’s streets committee recommended placement, but only after a special meeting last month requested when the committee first denied the request to post the signs. According to Bethany Waltersdorf of the DOT, Jefferson is the only city she has worked with in which the TODS “trailblazer” signs were not approved at first request. Waltersdorf attended the special committee meeting July 30 and returned to Jefferson for the Aug. 11 council meeting to answer any questions.

The TODS program allows for signage on highways naming a business that qualifies as a tourist-oriented business. Businesses fill out lengthy applications and are visited by a DOT representative before the request is heard by a committee with representatives of the Economic Development Authority, the Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Travel Federation of Iowa and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Iowa. The committee approves or denies the applications.

The TODS program is available only to businesses in towns with a population of 5,000 or more. No more than six businesses in a town can be approved.

Harrison RV and RVP~1875 have been approved. Each business will be noted with four signs approaching Jefferson, one each on north- and southbound Highway 4 and on east- and westbound Highway 30. McAtee Tire and the Stitch were approved by the committee but because of those businesses’ location, additional “trailblazer” signs are needed to direct travelers once they get off the main highway. The trailblazer signs are smaller than those on the highway – 12 by 48 inches.

The businesses pay for the signs at a total cost of about $1,500. The city will also charge the Stitch and McAtee Tire for the posts and labor to install them. The permit has not yet been written and a permit fee has not yet been established. Signs will not be posted on the highways until they have been posted on the city streets.

Trailblazer signs to the Stitch will direct travelers to turn east on Harrison St, north on Locust and back west on Lincoln Way. Signs to McAtee Tire will route motorists coming from the north to turn west on Central Ave, then south on Maple St. Motorists coming from the south will be directed to turn west on Reed St and north on Maple.

Larry Saddoris, who lives outside of Jefferson but owns rental property in the city, had spoken with council member Larry Teeples with concerns about mowing around the sign posts and obstructed vision by the residents who live where the signs are posted. The council verified that the trailblazing signs will be mounted on a single post and agreed to put grass guards around them.

Council members Teeples, Lisa Jaskey and Gary Von Ahsen are on the streets committee.

In other business, the city council approved the third reading of ordinances increasing water and sewer rates by 3 percent, and approved extending city administrator Mike Palmer’s contract for another year with a 4 percent pay increase from $83,054 to $86,373 annually. The council also heard an informational presentation from Greene County school superintendent Tim Christensen about the proposed $20 million bond issue. He encouraged the city council to vote in the Sept. 8 election and specified that he was unable by law to suggest to them how to vote, but can only provide information.


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