The Kent architect working on the restoration of Acorn Corner had to delay his presentation for the building's signs to the Kent Architectural Review Board because he also sits on the panel.
Doug Fuller, of Fuller Design Group Architects, asked the board to table their vote on sign plans for the restoration this week after learning from Kent's law department that it may be a violation of state law for him to present the project to the board because of his role as a member of the panel.
Kent Assistant Law Director Eric Fink said Kent Law Director Jim Silver determined the potential conflict exists after the issue arose during a January meeting of the group.
"We have determined under both city and state ordinance that any member of the architecture review board cannot present in front of the architecture review board," Fink said.
Fuller asked the group to table the issue Tuesday on the advice of the law department.
In a Feb. 19 memo to the architecture board Silver wrote that members of the panel are identified as "public officials" under state and local law, and as such members of the panel who are architects by trade cannot represent clients in front of any of the city's governing boards, including the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals and Kent Planning Commission.
Fink said the law department is still trying to determine if another member of the firm could present a project on behalf of the architecture board member. The law department also is trying to determine if a member of the board authors the drawings for a project, would those drawings be admissible.
Elizabeth Eaken, a member of the architecture board and an employee of David Sommers & Associates, said the limitation hinders her ability to work as an architect in Kent.
She said that if she can't present a project to Kent's governing panels and a member of her firm can't either, then she'll be forced to resign from the architecture board.
"I don't have any choice," she said.
Further complicating the issue is the fact that members of the panel still can't make presentations for one year after their resignation.
Fuller said he doesn't expect Tuesday's delay will have much of a negative effect on the construction schedule for Acorn Corner and is hopeful the project's sign plan will be presented to the architecture board in March.