MORTON — An effort to allow and regulate outdoor murals in the village has gone back to the drawing board.
Village Board trustees Monday agreed with the Morton Plan Commission's recommendation and rejected an ordinance that would have permitted murals that met certain criteria.
Trustees also directed village staff and the Plan Commission to find out how area communities such as Peoria, Pekin, Canton and Lincoln that have murals regulate them and return with a revised ordinance.
Morton Village Attorney Pat McGrath said Plan Commission members had serious concerns about the original ordinance because the village could not regulate the content of murals because of First Amendment rights.
"Plus, there isn't substantial interest right now in putting up murals (in Morton)," McGrath said.
The only interest village officials are aware of is from the owners of the Old School Arts studio in downtown Morton, who launched the ordinance process by first contacting the Morton Chamber of Commerce.
The Plan Commission discussed the mural issue in two meetings before making its ordinance recommendation Jan. 29.
"There was some talk among Plan Commission members about allowing murals in commercial areas and having it be self-policed, but they had concerns about that, too," McGrath said.
The village doesn't specifically ban murals, but murals are not listed as an allowed use in any zoning district.
Also at Monday's board meeting:
* In his annual report to the board about Morton Police Department vehicle mileages, Police Chief Craig Hilliard said his department will be getting rid of a 1984 Chevrolet van that is used for animal control and had 60,214 miles on its odometer Dec. 31.
The van is the second-oldest vehicle in the department's fleet behind a 1970 Chevrolet Suburban that is used on rare occasions by auxiliary officers and had 18,127 miles as of Dec. 31.
The department patrol vehicle with the most mileage of as Dec. 31 was a 2015 Ford Interceptor SUV with 66,738 miles.
* Ken Helmuth was appointed to the Morton Police and Fire Commission for a three-year term and the board was informed by Mayor Jeff Kaufman that Laura Elam had resigned from the Plan Commission after a 10-year stint.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.