The Independence Planning Commission met on Jan. 27, 2008, and took the following action (All votes were unanimous, unless otherwise noted):

• Denied an application for a special sign permit for Shelter Insurance Co. at 825 N. Dakota Drive. The vote was 4-2, with Chairman David Roberts and Vice Chairman Les Boatright opposed. Commission member Lyn Westfall was absent.


• Shelter Insurance agent Garry Hoyer applied for a special sign permit to install a second pole sign at the Susquehanna Center on the southwest corner of East U.S. 24 and North Dakota Drive.


During their Jan. 13 meeting, several Planning Commission members suggested Hoyer consider a monument sign instead, and the case was continued. A monument sign is a permanent sign with its entire bottom affixed to the ground with a low overall height.


In a letter to commission members, Hoyer wrote that in his research, he found that pole signs cost one-third less than monument signs.


“I have been in insurance for 10 years and have seen how important signage can be as far as making or breaking your business,” Hoyer wrote.


Commission member Jerry Kacheroski spoke in opposition to the permit request.


“What happens if we approve the sign and everybody else in there wants to have their own sign?” Kacheroski said. “And then, that doesn’t only apply to this part of the city. We start a precedent by saying that we’re going to put an extra sign in for this business, and I don’t see where we can stop with that.”


• Approved a final site plan for Comprehensive Mental Health Services Inc. at the northwest corner of Swope Drive and Missouri 78. A 21,530-square-foot facility is be constructed at the northwest corner of East 23rd Street (Missouri 78) and South Swope Drive. It would replace the counseling facility at 10819 Winner Road, which Comprehensive Mental Health Services has used since 1979. The new facility would include outpatient counseling services for low-income clients, including children, adolescents, families and adults.


In a separate motion, the commission vacated all of the street right of way that extends north from M-78 encompassed by lots five through eight of Highleah Plaza (located north of M-78 and west of Swope Drive). Vacating the street will allow the cul-de-sac and accompanying plant island to be integrated with a new parking lot at the mental health facility.