AUBURN (CBS13) – It’s been firmly planted high atop an auburn business for a decade: A steer statue may soon be roped down from its rooftop perch because the city says the statue is a sign and isn’t up to code.
Any way you cut it, business is good at the Longhorn Meat Company in Auburn. So much so the owners are planning to expand.
Plans were submitted to the city and the business was told get a few signs on the property up to code. No problem, says shop owner Phil Kattenhorn. But that’s when things were steered in an unwelcome direction.
“When I was told that the steer would have to come down and there was no way around it, I felt like I got hit right in the gut because the steer is a huge part of our business,” said Kattenhorn.
The steer has been beefing up the market’s profile for a decade.
“We’ve had so much support and people that love the steer. They come by, they drive by…take pictures,” he said.
But when the city told Kattenhorn the steer is considered a sign and it doesn’t meet requirements, Phil said that’s a bunch of bull.
“I really don’t feel it’s a sign. It’s art. It has no lettering, wording on it, it’s a steer. I don’t see how it’s a sign,” he said. “And it’s part of my soul; it’s part of our character.”
The city tells CBS13 this is just part of the process for any business wishing to expand. As part of the review process, the city noticed several unpermitted signs, including the steer statue on the roof. Roof signs, the city goes on to say, are not permitted.
But the meat market may not end up with a raw deal by the time the cows come home. It can and plans to apply for a sign variance. Until then, Phil insists his meat market will continue to show its horns.
“I had told them I was gonna fight it ’til the bitter end, and I’m going to continue to fight it. It’s not coming down.”
The next step in this showdown? The issue heads to the planning commission where its members will consider the sign variance to see if the steer can stay put.