Complaints by business and property owners that pine trees along Bergener Boulevard are blocking sign visibility has turned into "a question of aesthetics," prompting a public hearing next month.
Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue addressed the city council at a meeting on Tuesday saying that the managers of Papa Murphy's and the property managers of the strip mall housing GNC, Fantastic Sams and Sally's Beauty Supply brought the issue to his attention.
Virtue said that the property managers of the strip mall offered to cut down the big trees and remove the stumps, replacing them with 8-foot tall trees. However, he said he does not believe that replacing the big trees with smaller ones is a fair compensation. Virtue alluded that the strip mall may be gaining some new tenants and that the trees might be a problem getting the businesses to commit.
While the meeting was not a public hearing, Virtue did allow two people to voice their opinions about the trees.
Mary Ellen Braithwaite said, "I drive by this area about 15 times a week. I don't think its difficult to see the signs going in or out of town. I enjoy seeing the lights at Christmastime and I tell my friends to drive by and see the lights. I would like to see the trees stay there."
Bill Feliciano expressed a similar sentiment, saying, "The trees have been there long before the retailers. They are beautiful, viable trees. I love how they look along the avenue; they add a lot to Blackfoot and are pretty at Christmastime. The signs should accommodate the trees, not the other way around. Leave the trees alone and let the retailers modify their signs."
A public hearing on the Bergener Boulevard trees will be on Nov.12, one week later than the regularly scheduled city council meeting because of the city election Nov. 5.