Chattanooga city attorney to inspectors: Lay off the doughnut mural

Chattanooga city attorney to inspectors: Lay off the doughnut mural

June 21st, 2014 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local Regional News

Donut mural near Koch's Bakery on 20th Street was ruled an advertisement by a city sign inspector.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

The doughnuts are safe - for now.

The Chattanooga City Attorney's Office has asked city inspectors to halt any action against Koch's Bakery owner Barbara Davis, who earlier this week was ordered to paint over her flying doughnut mural because it was deemed an advertisement.

The city order sparked a public backlash.

"I would recommend delaying any additional action against the owner of the business referenced above until this office has completed its review and City Council has an opportunity to consider potential clarifications of the ordinance," City Attorney Wade Hinton wrote to the mayor's office.

On Tuesday, a city inspector told Davis that the doughnuts she paid $11,000 to have painted on a dilapidated building constitute an illegal advertisement and must go.

She said the inspector told her that because she has sold doughnuts for 31 years, the mural is advertising her business and therefore is treated as a sign under the city code. Per the code, it doesn't matter that there is no actual writing on the wall.

A group of local artists started a petition and the City Council asked the city attorney's office to take a closer look at the ordinance.

Meanwhile, Davis said she's having the best week of business ever. On Friday afternoon, she had been awake since 2 a.m. making 200 dozen doughnuts.

"I'm so honored by all this," she said. "I was just amazed at all the support, people coming in and signing the petition, and people buying a doughnut to have delivered to the City Council meeting Tuesday night."

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.