published Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Delivery of 648 Koch's Bakery doughnuts is message to Chattanooga City Council

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    Barbara Davis, owner of Koch's Bakery, boxes doughnuts for a customer Tuesday evening.
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• What: 648 doughnuts

• Height: About 1.25 inches each

• Total: 810 inches, or 67.5 feet

Should city rules governing murals be changed?
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    Chattanooga Councilman Yusuf Hakeem and Cynthia Patrick smile as Hakeem eats a Koch's Bakery doughnut before the City Council meeting Tuesday evening.
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    A doughnut mural covers the side of a building near Koch's Bakery on 20th Street.
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So many doughnuts were delivered to the City Council that if each were stacked atop the other they would have towered some 67 feet high.

The sugary scent of 648 glazed doughnuts -- 54 dozen -- filled the council building's foyer Tuesday evening.

Some people stopped to stare. Many -- City Council members included -- dared to reach their hands inside and pluck one of the Koch's Bakery delights from its box, carrying it with them into the meeting.

The doughnuts were meant to send a message to the City Council: The community's sign ordinance is too harsh. Artists and local residents bought the doughnuts in response to a challenge by a Times Free Press columnist.

All were incensed that a code enforcer had ordered bakery owner Barbara Davis to paint over her flying doughnuts mural, telling her it was an illegal advertisement and not art.

Yet even before council members peered inside the boxes of doughnuts stacked outside the council chambers, several acknowledged that something must be done to protect business owners who are beautifying the city and crack down on those whose signs are hurting the city's overall appearance.

"When a dedicated and valuable member of our community like Barbara Davis takes a blighted area and injects life and beauty she should not be punished, she should be heralded as an example of what we want to see in our residents and business owners," said Councilman Chris Anderson, in whose district Koch's Bakery is located.

At Tuesday night's meeting, Anderson announced that he will pick several local artists, business owners and architects to form a committee to come up with an ordinance that prohibits blight but encourages art and attractive advertisements.

Currently, Chattanooga's ordinance prohibits murals that have symbols of one's business. But the City Council wants to probe the 59-page ordinance further and study rules that mandate that a business sign can take up no more than 20 percent of one's building.

That requirement is going to be significantly different on a one-story building like Koch's bakery compared to the 18-story SunTrust building downtown, said Council Chairman Chip Henderson. That's not a fair regulation, he pointed out.

As for the rest of the dozens of doughnuts that weren't eaten, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen was scheduled to pick up the boxes this morning to serve for breakfast.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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