Annie ready to fly again

By Scott Halasz -

XENIA — Annie the Eagle will be flying high again today.

The Alan Besco Car & Truck Superstore inflatable bird, which was grounded in October after the board of zoning appeals denied a variance request, is now in compliance with Xenia’s land development code after council made a change Nov. 14.

And since ordinances go into effect 30 days after passage, today is the day.

“We’re happy,” Besco co-owner Melanie Atley said previously. “We’re just happy that we were able to keep her flying. Xenia’s our home. We just want to do what’s right. It’ll be for all businesses.”

Atley and her sister, Stacy Sparks, who took over the business from their father, previously paid for a permit to fly the bird 10 days a month. A change in the zoning code in 2016 limited inflatables to 12 feet and 14 days per year. Annie the Eagle checks in around 25 feet according to city records. Before that, Besco flew Dorothy the Dinosaur and a brown gorilla.

The 3-2 BZA decision caused a firestorm on social media and throughout the city and nearly 50 people — most wearing save Annie T-shirts — filled the council chambers for the Oct. 10 meeting showing support for Besco and the bird.

After some compromise, a text amendment was introduced that would raise the height limit of inflatable signs in B-3 districts, allow owners of multiple lots in a B-3 district that are contiguous or across the street from one another to aggregate their permitted square footage into a single, larger sign, and with a zoning permit allow the signs to be up for 60 days per year.

The planning and zoning commission approved it at its Nov. 7 and recommended council approve it as well.

By Scott Halasz

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.