Smith: Chattanooga's sign code needs a revamp

Donuts float in a heavenly sky at the corner of Broad and 20th streets in Chattanooga. This mouth-watering image is the new mural on the wall of Barbara Davis' well-known bakery. But the city code says the mural has to go. Sound unfair? It's also unconstitutional.

Barbara Davis has owned Koch Bakery for 31 years and was tired of her building being covered in graffiti. So she hired an artist to paint her wall for $11,000. The result was a dreamy mural featuring several flavors of soaring dunkers. But barely two days after it was unveiled, the city demanded that she paint over it. That's because the city's 59-page sign code only allows murals that do not include advertising. According to the city, the mural is an ad because even though it has no words, it shows some of the delicious goods Barbara sells.

Signs