The applicant is proposing to refresh the front facade of the building with signage and facade improvements. The space is located at the east end of the Riverdale Commons shopping center. The applicant is requesting 503 square feet of wall signage. The signage includes the Target logo and lettering (442 square feet), and order pick-up sign (25 square feet) and an existing CVS pharmacy sign (36 square feet). The Target bullseye is 12 feet in diameter and the lower case letters are 6 feet high.
The existing signage includes the Target logo and lettering, and a pharmacy sign which totals 536 square feet. The applicant is reducing the total square footage but is changing the configuration and number of signs. The logo and lettering portion is changing from all capital letters to all lower case and they are adding an order pick-up sign. Because of the extent that the signage is being modified, the new signage must comply with the current 200 square foot maximum allowed.
The current signage complied with the sign code in effect at the time of installation. Several other businesses in the shopping center have signage that exceeds the maximum currently allowed, HomeGoods (333 square feet), Michaels (400 square feet), and Home Depot (561 square feet). Last year Sportsman’s Warehouse was granted a variance for 276 square feet of signage. Prior to 2007, the maximum amount of wall signage allowed was 20% of the square footage of the wall on which the sign was located.
Variance Request from Section 11-1203.7(1) Amount of Signage
In order for a variance to be granted, the Board must make the following findings of City Code Section 11-304.9(2), Standards for Approval for granting variances. A variance may be granted only after the following findings are made:
1. The variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the ordinance from which the variance is requested.
The purpose of the sign code is to regulate the number, location, size, type, illumination and other physical characteristics of signs within the City in order to promote the public health, safety and welfare; maintain, enhance and improve the aesthetic environment of the City by preventing visual clutter that is harmful to the appearance of the community; improve the visual appearance of the City while providing for effective means of communication, consistent with constitutional guarantees and the City's goals of public safety and aesthetics, and provide for fair and consistent enforcement of the sign regulations.
The proposed variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the sign code. Having the proposed signage will help direct customers to the site, provide visibility from 124th Avenue and Riverdale Boulevard. The proposed signage will not cause visual clutter, and the signage is proportional to the size of the building.
2. The variance is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan seeks to maintain a diversified economic base and a climate that encourages economic development and ongoing business activity. This goal can be furthered by allowing adequate signage that enhances access, identification and visibility for businesses.
3. The application demonstrates there are practical difficulties in complying with the ordinance from which the variance is sought. Practical difficulties include, but are not limited to, adequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems. Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties. In determining this standard, all of the following must be met:
a. Unless the variance is granted, the property cannot be used in a reasonable manner. If a property can be used reasonably without the granting of a variance, it can be used in a reasonable manner.
Because of its location within the shopping center and the design trademark logo, this sign configuration is needed to help the applicant continue to be successful at this location. The total signage has actually been reduced by 33 square feet from what is currently on the building.
b. The variance requested must be the minimum to make reasonable use of the property.
The applicant has demonstrated that the variance is the minimum needed to make a reasonable use of the property.
c. The plight of the applicant or landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the applicant or landowner.
These circumstances were not created by the applicant or landowner, and are unique to this property. The property is located in a shopping center and the proposed signage is needed to overcome the limited visibility.
d. The variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality.
If granted, the variance will not alter the character of the shopping center.
The application for variance requires the applicant submit a written narrative explaining how the variance request meets the following criteria: explain the undue hardship that exists based upon circumstances unique to the property, explain how the request allows the minimum improvement that would make possible the reasonable use of the property, explain how the request would not be detrimental to the neighborhood or the public welfare and explain how the variance would not grant a special privilege not common to other property in the same zoning district. The applicant’s narrative is attached.