Sign painting decision postponed |

Sign painting decision postponed

Nancy Dallas

DAYTON – The Comstock Historic District Commission has postponed a decision on what action to take for the painting over of a longtime, near historic sign.

The issue will be heard at the commission’s January 10 meeting in Dayton.

Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz, Dayton’s representative on the historic commission board, said he and State Historic Preservation Officer Ron James recently met with building owner Max Kuerzi to try and resolve the issue of bringing him into compliance with commission directions.

Kuerzi said he had new information regarding the sign, but didn’t have time to prepare for the Dec. 13 meeting, Milz said.

In October the commission gave Kuerzi 60 days to restore the sign to its original appearance. Kuerzi has taken no action to this point.

While in the process of repainting his building and without approval of the historic commission, Kuerzi allowed a sign on an exterior wall that denoted a past use as the Odeon Hall & Saloon to be painted over. The action has resulted in considerable, often divisive debate among local residents regarding the age of the obliterated sign and the importance of replacing it. The enforcement powers of the state appointed historic commission have also been questioned.

According to historic commission guidelines, no changes are to be made to the exterior of any building within the district without commission approval.

Historic photos show the Odeon Hall & Saloon sign on Kuerzi’s building as early as 1907 and many residents have asked the historic commission to enforce restoration of what they say is an important piece of Dayton’s heritage.

As a result of the controversy over that sign, a number of other Dayton businesses are now also being cited for sign and painting violations.

After touring the community, Milz submitted the names of several businesses displaying signs that he says have not received approval of the historic commission.

Dayton Regional Advisory Council Chairman and historic district resident Barbara Peck said, “People who own property should come to the board (Historic Commission) for approval, but they seem to have a problem getting the word out.

“It is too bad this has become such a personal issue. None of us are out to hurt businesses. It is the regulations of this board they are in violation of. The problem is in lack of enforcement.”

Board members noted that without specific county guidelines to “trigger” action, it is hard to enforce sign regulations within the community.

Storey County’s sign ordinance dictates the size and location of signs. The historic commission reviews them for appropriateness of design before placement.

A workshop will be held in Dayton in February to discuss the regulation of signs in the community.