Business gets outdoor display win before City Council

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Rows of wheelbarrows stand lined up at Sherman's Lowe's Home Improvement. The Sherman City Council recently approved outdoor display permits for the business.

For several months Sherman has made efforts to stop non-permitted outdoor displays by businesses, particularly along the U.S. Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 82 intersection. But, this week one business got a push forward that could lead to other wins for businesses possibly looking to do something similar.

The Sherman City Council recently approved a permit for Lowe's to have outdoor displays in specific parts of its property along the intersection of Hwy 75 and Hwy 82.

"You aren't the only store we are concerned with about this — about outdoor storage," City Council Member Pam Howeth said. "You are just the first one to come to us. We want it to have a nice aesthetic."

In many cases, non-permitted outdoor displays were in business parking lots and posed as a possible eyesore for those traveling along the highways.

Until recently, Lowe's had multiple locations where outdoor storage is taking place in its parking lot and outdoor areas out of compliance with city ordinance.. In some cases, this included pallets of supplies that are not behind a fence. Under the proposed changes, this will be consolidated to certain spaces along the northern side of the property. 

The consolidation and specific use permit were requirements for another project that the hardware store is pursuing, Sherman Development Services Director Rob Rae said. In order to build a new canopy for lumber orders, the store needed to bring itself up into compliance with the city ordinance.

"They have recently recently started a project to expand their canopy to allow drop offs and such," Rae said. "Part of that was to get in compliance with their outdoor displays."

The displays will be screened from the highway service road by new planted screening, which was approved by the planning and zoning commission earlier this month. This will be similar to what is in place on the property line along Loy Lake Road.

This is not the first time that the council has discussed outdoor storage in recent weeks. The council and planning and zoning commission have received multiple requests related to storage and screening for Tractor Supply Co., on the other side of the intersection. These requests sparked conversations on other properties that are also using outdoor storage.

This month's meeting also redefined another type of outdoor storage that has been taking place, including at Lowe's. The council also changed the city ordinance to move shipping containers to a temporary use permit, rather than a specific use permit. In many cases, these metal containers have been used as additional storage space by retailers. However, they can pose as an eyesore when left visible.