DeLand city commissioners have approved an ordinance that creates a committee to approve proposed murals.
Murals have been a part of the DeLand landscape for years. One of the city’s most popular murals, the DeLand Wings by Erica Group, was an accidental installation first chalked on a Downtown DeLand wall to serve as a photo backdrop, and made permanent after the Wings became an instant hit.
City Attorney Darren Elkind brought the idea of a Mural Committee to the commission because no official rules for installing murals existed in city code.
“This ordinance, this program, is completely unnecessary until somebody puts something up that you really don’t want to have,” Elkind told commissioners April 19.
After all, he explained, the city has been fortunate so far — DeLand’s murals represent the city well. But, he said, if a mural were to be put up that city officials dislike, there would be no legal standing to have it removed.
Since its first reading April 5, the ordinance received some concern from the City Commission.
Fears of stifling creativity or creating unnecessary red tape abounded. Ultimately, with the recognition that rules could be amended down the road, the ordinance received a unanimous vote from all present city commissioners. Commissioner Jessica Davis, who voiced concern about the proposed ordinance when it was first presented but voted in favor of it, was absent from this meeting.
The Mural Committee will consist of five members from the DeLand area with some background or involvement in the arts. Members will be appointed by the DeLand City Commission.
City Manager Michael Pleus told The Beacon that the commission could begin appointing members to the new committee as soon as the City Commission’s May 17 meeting.
The purpose of the committee, Elkind explained, is not to police art or regulate the content of murals, but to ensure that a mural’s content, materials and impact on buildings are up to snuff.
The DeLand City Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month in the City Commission Chambers, 120 S. Florida Ave. All meetings are open to the public.
To read the full text of the Mural Committee ordinance as approved by the DeLand City Commission, click below.