SULPHUR SPRINGS, TX (KLTV) - It's a vegetable with arms and legs, that's stirring up controversy. No, it's not a copyright infringement for Mr. Potato Head, it's a sign hanging on the front of the Potato House restaurant in Sulphur Springs.
The Downtown Revitalization Board has said that it has to come down, but the owner says it's their mascot, and she wants it to stay.
Talk about hot potato.
It was around for 10 years, closed down and re-opened in downtown Sulphur Springs. City officials are happy the business is thriving, but they say the potato man sign is not in compliance with Revitalization.
"Honestly, I don't know what they didn't like about the sign, and I don't think she asked. I think she decided just to appeal it," Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell says. "Probably not the most productive route, I think it would have been better to just sit down with them and say well what could I change, what would make it better. But this is the route she chose, and this is the route we'll go."
Sherry Cotten, the owner of Potato House, says despite the board's objections, she wants to keep him mounted on her restaurant.
"I have been to the council with it, I have appealed it. I can't get a response other than maybe he's too fat, too brown and they want him down," Sherry says. "It doesn't beautify Sulphur Springs, which he's very clean, he's not in the way of anybody, he's not a tripping hazard."
It's hanging about five feet up and has become a popular picture prop recently, even making appearances on Facebook. Brittney Jones is a regular and likes the Potato Man.
"I just don't agree with them at all. I don't see how that's not beautiful," Brittney stated.
"That's a decision not for the Zoning Board of Adjustment to make, but rather the first committee that reviewed it in the first place, because the Zoning Board of Adjustment, they're decision is going to be is she or is she not required to have a permit for a sign, and is there some compelling reason she should not have to have a permit," Marc says.
Marc adds that although Sherry has appealed it to city council and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, who may issue a permit for the Potato Man, ultimately it's up to Revitalization.
"The difference is that in downtown, it's got to go before this board because they control the look and the feel of the facades of the buildings of downtown," Marc explained.
Sherry thinks it may be about the artistic representation of the potato itself.
"Who determines what color and how big a potato comes out of the ground? That is a lot of my issue, and I feel if I take him down today, then that means I agree with them, and I don't agree with them," Sherry says.
Sherry goes before City Council on August 18 at 5:30 pm at Sulphur Springs City Hall.