Controversial Doughnut Mural Sparks Debate

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – Barbara Davis, Owner of Koch’s Bakery, says, "I didn’t know I was breaking the rules."

Davis’ sweet idea is leaving a sour taste in the City of Chattanooga’s mouth.

Davis adds, "Didn’t realize that I had to have a permit or talk to the city to have art, public art on the side of my building."

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Art or advertisement; that’s the question.

The city says it’s a sign advertising Koch’s Bakery, even though there are no words on the picture.

Davis says, It’s facing 20th street and my business faces broad street.  The building looked bad, I wanted something pretty."

Now, the city is saying paint over it or make it smaller, so it only covers 20 percent of the wall.

Davis adds, "I thought they wanted to beautify the Southside, but evidently not."

Clearly, city leaders do want to beautify the area.

That’s why they bought a $32,000 blue rhino in 2011, and even helped fund some of the murals around the city.

However, in this case, they’re not allowing a tax-payer to buy her own $11,000 dollar mural.

Councilman Chris Anderson, says, "The problem is the existing ordinance we inherited. The sign ordinance in Chattanooga is incredibly restrictive. Starting today, I’m going doing what I can to ease those restrictions so we beautify public spaces."

Councilman Larry Grohn also says this old ordinance may need new changes.

Grohn adds, "I think the city and the citizens have every right to expect a fresh look at our advertising and signage ordinance."

Davis says she doesn’t know what to do now because she doesn’t have the money to change her flying doughnut artwork, nor does she want to.

Davis says, "If they summons me to court, then I’ll have to get an attorney and go to court."

Chattanooga’s Land Development Office is investigating this case.

There’s no word on exactly when Davis needs to make those changes to her mural.

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