Bartlett city board denies bright green signage for Walmart

Source: Bartlett City Board agenda packet, Feb. 14, 2017. (Click image to enlarge.)
PICTURED: See the current Walmart facility in the top image. Below it, see the bright green signage background that was proposed for the facility. Source: Bartlett City Board agenda packet, Feb. 14, 2017. (Click image to enlarge.)

The Bartlett city board unanimously denied a Walmart petition about using “Outrageous Green” as part of signage background at the board’s Feb. 14 meeting. The decision applied to Walmart Neighborhood Market at 6520 Memphis Arlington Road.

Terry Emerick, city director of planning and economic development, explained that in October the contractor received a stop-work order for painting the building and changing some of the colors. Most were various shade of gray, but there was a large area of bright green paint on the center panel where the sign would be replaced after the painting. They were advised to seek Design Review Commission approval. The DRC approved the grays but not the green at the January meeting.

Jim Gallagher, an architect with pb2 Architecture + Engineering for the project, said the painting doesn’t make the signage exceed the city’s maximum square footage, and the bright green background isn’t part of the sign. He also said the ordinance doesn’t specify color prohibitions.

Alderman Emily Elliott, the board’s DRC liaison, said the Walmart is highly visible to neighborhoods now that it has trimmed its trees. She said the DRC felt the brightness of the green (named on the paint chip as “Outrageous Green”) wasn’t compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods. She noted that the business stays busy and doesn’t seem to be hurting for business. She also disputed his interpretation of the city’s sign ordinance and read the pertinent text at the meeting. The city attorney agreed that the background should be considered as part of the sign.

Alderman Bobby Simmons criticized Elliott’s stance as personal taste and contended that the board doesn’t have authority to regulate the color of the sign. However, the mayor said Bartlett does have an aesthetic board.

David Parsons asked if the paint color was part of national branding being rolled out, and Gallagher said it will be for many locations.

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said, “The key to that is ‘many,’ not ‘all.’”

Elliott noted that the green isn’t part of the store’s legal registered trademark and isn’t necessary.

The board unanimously denied the appeal.

Other business

In other business, the board:

  • Approved an agreement between the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation and the City of Bartlett for the design and construction of Fletcher Creek Greenway Phase II. Rick McClanahan, Bartlett’s director of engineering, said Phase II will extend where the current project ends right at Yale Road. The estimated total project cost is $1,085,000 with the city’s 20 percent local match estimated to be $217,000.
  • Approved an $111,590 amendment to the FY2017 General Fund and Capital Improvement Program Budgets to buy critical spares for the radio communication system.
  • Approved an amendment to the FY2017 General Purpose School Fund. The Bartlett City Schools district has received $54,166.33 in additional funding from sponsorships and other donations, and the amendment reflects this funding.
  • Approved an amendment to the FY2017 General Fund Budget to appropriate $67,800 for peace officer supplement pay for the Bartlett Police Department’s certified personnel.
  • Approved the first reading of an amendment to city code to reduce the time frame for appealing code violations. Currently, the ordinance specifies 20 days’ notice. The change would reduce that to 10 days. The public hearing will be March 14.
  • Approved the first reading of an amendment to modify the method of notification for code violations. Currently, the city uses regular mail with a return receipt request with regular mail. Many times it took a month or longer to get the receipt back from the Post Office. The change would specify sending a notice via first-class mail and posting a notice in front of the business, home or vacant lot. The public hearing will be March 14.
  • Accepted the lowest qualified bid for a rubber-tired wheel loader. The bid went to Power Equipment at a cost of $154,772.
  • Accepted the lowest bid for a four-wheel-drive tractor with twin flail mowers. The bid went to Cumberland Tractor & Equipment at a cost of $81,754. This fee is based on the number of water meters in the city (21,626) multiplied by $0.55. The City of Bartlett pays an annual fee to Shelby County to implement a comprehensive aquifer protection program.
  • Authorized payment of $11,894.30 to the Shelby County Health Department as the annual maintenance fee for Shelby County Wellhead Protection.
  • Approved a special event permit for the March 4 Panther Prowl 5K Run/Walk. The event will be 8:30 a.m.-noon at Bartlett High School and is a fundraiser for the boys’ track team.
  • Approved an amendment to the retirement system of the City of Bartlett Defined Benefit Plan. The amendment was made to incorporate terminology required by the IRS.

The mayor also issued a proclamation honoring National Engineers Week with the theme, “Engineers Dream Big.”

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138, or