Playing Chicken With City Hall

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Monday, August 27, 2012 - 12:21pm

Zoning fight erupts over restaurant's giant chicken sign.

A giant rooster might soon have its goose cooked.

The colorful 28-foot-tall wood-and-metal sign went up this spring outside the Liberty Bell restaurant in Liberty, Indiana to help draw attention to the business during a street construction project.

Liberty Bell owner Andy Pitcher said the rooster has become an attraction with customers often posing for photos under the sign.

"We wanted to put something out here so when customers say to us, 'How do we get to your place?' we tell them to look for the big chicken," Pitcher said.

Jeff Mathews, the county planning director, said he has received about a dozen complaints about the rooster.

He said the 16-foot-wide sign is closer to the street than allowed under the zoning rules even though it doesn't obstruct the view of drivers.

Mathews wouldn't say who complained about the rooster, but some customers of the restaurant known for its fried chicken said they believed it should be allowed to stay.

"Some people think it's an eyesore," customer George Himes said. "I think it's kind of neat."

The Union County Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled on Monday to consider a request from Pitcher to keep the sign in place.

Mathews said he believed the zoning board would let the rooster remain, although Pitcher wasn't as sure.

"We didn't put the chicken up to irritate anybody," Pitcher said. "We just did it as an advertisement."

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