Mural, sign painted before meeting city criteria


By Rhonda Bletner - [email protected]



The former Beverage Center, S. Market Street, appears to be renamed Vapor Town. The business lies in one of Galion’s Design Review Districts and the mural, which also qualifies as a sign, was not approved by the board — owing perhaps to a lack of communication.

The former Beverage Center, S. Market Street, appears to be renamed Vapor Town. The business lies in one of Galion’s Design Review Districts and the mural, which also qualifies as a sign, was not approved by the board — owing perhaps to a lack of communication.


EDITOR’S NOTE:Story corrected to remove misidentified board member

GALION — The Galion Design Review Board met in a special session Thursday to discuss a mural/sign at South Market Beverage Center, 251 S. Market Street.

The Design Review Board, comprised of seven members, exists to further “business investment by disallowing development that unreasonably injures property values of other owners in the district.”

There are two Design Review Districts in Galion, one of which includes South Market Street.

Prior to any modifications of exterior walls within a Design Review District, a business owner must submit plans for the project to the board. However, the Beverage Center came to the attention of the board because a mural/sign was painted on the side of the building over a recent weekend, prior to undergoing the review process.

The mural includes an image of a woman smoking, loose cigarettes, a hookah, and a vape.

Board Secretary Linda Chamber provided members with copies of the business owners’ incomplete application that was given to her belatedly.

In the review/approval process, the board reviews the application to determine its compliance with guidelines adopted by city council ordinance. The application should include any available sketches or plans.

City Law Director Thomas Palmer stated the city building inspector learned of the mural after it was already completed.

“It’s not just the Design Review Board, it was Mr.[Eric] Baldinger as the Building Inspector who had found out about it after the fact. So, there’s a whole set of criteria under consideration because it’s a sign in addition to the fact that it’s a mural. The city is pursuing that angle but they [the owners] haven’t provided you with enough information to make a decision, which is not okay, obviously. It’s going to have to be rectified,” Palmer stated.

The mural includes the name “Vapor Town,” therefore also rendering it a sign.

Palmer shared copies of Galion codified ordinance, one of which provides the definition of a wall sign and that definition includes “painted murals.”

Board member Judy Gibson said she researched the FDA. “That mural/sign is illegal because it does not have on there, anywhere, the surgeon general’s statement about smoking being hazardous to your health. That is a law,” she said. “So that mural is unlawful the way it stands.”

It was noted that warning information could be added.

Rev. Rick Maddox who chaired the meeting asked, “Do we power wash it off? Do we paint over it?”

Palmer reiterated the board currently does not have enough information to issue a ruling.

“But let’s assume they apply, and you have all the information and you reject it. You’re rejecting it from the point of view of the Design Review Board. They would then have the ability to appeal that to the Board of Zoning appeals,” Palmer stated.

Palmer gave a hypothetical case of the city reviewing the mural as a sign.

“Let’s assume for a moment the city, I’m not saying we will, deems the sign to be too large because signs are supposed to sort of match the size of the surface it’s on, the size of the wall. Let’s assume for a moment it’s too big and they are rejected for that reason. They would have the ability to appeal that independently. So, it [the application and mural/sign] is going down two paths at the same time. Either one could be rejected.”

Scott Palmer asked if the application could be accepted as it was turned in and Thomas Palmer replied that it could not be accepted. He said the ordinance specifies it has to include a full and accurate description including size and materials, color and graphics.

“There’s no way you can rule on it right now,” he said. “There are sections on the application on page 2 that are blank.”

Chambers said she believes the business owner is from Jordan and perhaps he didn’t understand her fully when she requested further information from him.

“When a new business comes in, and I don’t know how long this guy’s been here, how much does the city, welcoming a new business, say, ‘By the way, here’s our rules; here’s our guidance….’ How much are we helping these people as they come in so they don’t make faux pas like this,” Scott Palmer asked.

“I’m just curious how much he’s aware going in, or any business coming in,” he added.

Chambers said the business was paid for in cash in just the last couple of weeks, and they almost immediately painted the mural/sign.

“If I see a new business, usually I go and call on them if I see they’re in a Design Review area and give them the guidelines,” she said.

Mike Richart suggested the city frequently has the first opportunity to interact with new businesses, primarily through the building inspector. He suggested the board ask the business owner to complete the application for consideration.

Richart then made a motion to table the discussion until the board’s next regular meeting, the motion was seconded, and passed. The next Design Review board meeting is May 19.

The former Beverage Center, S. Market Street, appears to be renamed Vapor Town. The business lies in one of Galion’s Design Review Districts and the mural, which also qualifies as a sign, was not approved by the board — owing perhaps to a lack of communication.
https://www.galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2022/05/web1_DSC_0601-1.jpgThe former Beverage Center, S. Market Street, appears to be renamed Vapor Town. The business lies in one of Galion’s Design Review Districts and the mural, which also qualifies as a sign, was not approved by the board — owing perhaps to a lack of communication.

By Rhonda Bletner

[email protected]