Appeal decision to grant a design variance to exceed the height of allowed signage for GG Petroleum Store

Palisade Board of Trustees
Date of Vote: Tue, Sep 12th 2017
Polls (closed):
Yay (0)    Nay (0)


                    Please Note: A "yay" vote is in favor of appealing the decision to grant a variance. A "nay" vote is in favor of letting the variance stand, and therefore allowing the sign to be constructed as proposed.

At the regular meeting of August 7, the Planning Commission considered a major site plan requested by the Golden Gate Petroleum Company for the construction of a convenience store with gas sales at the location of 780 37 3/10 Road (Elberta Avenue). The development includes a store of approximately 4,160 square feet, eleven gasoline pumps, 2 canopies, and associated parking, landscaping, utilities and infrastructure for access.
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                    A separate application was made by Yesco, LLC, on behalf of the Golden Gate Petroleum Company, to install signage on the site for the proposed store. A common signage plan was submitted to the Town for administrative review. Because the requested signage exceeded maximum standards allowed in the Land Development Code, Yesco, LLC requested the Planning Commission consider design variances at the same August 7 meeting. Separate public hearings were held for both requests. At the hearings, several persons spoke in opposition and in support of the proposed development and requested variances. The Planning Commission granted unanimous approval of the major site plan. The Planning Commission also approved the sign variances as requested by the applicant by a vote of 5 to 1.

On August 14, Tim Wedel submitted an application appealing the decision of the Planning Commission to grant approval of the variances. No appeal was made to the decision to grant major site plan approval. As per Section 7.17.5 any appeals from the decision of the Planning Commission must be made to the Board of Adjustment within five working days of the decision. The Board of Trustees acts as the Board of Adjustment, since that Board has not been formally established.

The common signage plan submitted to the Town identifies a total of twelve signs for the proposed development. The signs are summarized as follows below. Sign Details, as submitted by the applicant, are also included in the attachment to this report. 

The total area of requested signage encompasses 597.66 square feet, which is actually less than the area of total signage that is permitted for this site. The area of allowable signage is determined by the calculation of 1.25 square feet per linear foot of frontage on the street of greatest length. Based on that ratio, a total area of 604.93 square feet would be allowed for this development (483.95 linear feet of frontage).

Even though the total signage area is less than would be permitted, variances are nevertheless, requested since some of the individual signs exceed the dimensional standards in the Land Development Code. In summary the applicant is requesting a pole sign with a larger surface area and height than is otherwise permitted by the Land Development Code. Because of the larger surface area of the pole sign, the total area of the requested freestanding signage is also in excess of the standards in the Land Development Code. Finally, the applicant is requesting directional signage in excess of the standards permitted by the Code. 

Specifically, the applicant is requesting variances to four sections of the Land Development Code as follows:
VARIANCE 1 - According to Section 4.9.5A3d of the Land Development Code, the maximum height of freestanding signage is 20 feet. The applicant is requesting a pole sign along the Interstate frontage with a height of 60 feet or 40 feet in excess of the maximum allowed height.
VARIANCE 2 - According to Section 4.9.5A3b of the Land Development Code, when more than one freestanding sign is constructed, the total sign area shall not exceed .25 square feet per linear feet of frontage on the street of the greatest length. Based on that ratio, the maximum area of both free standing signs is 121 square feet (483.95 feet of frontage). The applicant is requesting that the area of both freestanding signs be allowed to exceed the allowed maximum of 121 square feet by 200 square feet or a total of 321 square feet.
VARIANCE 3 - According to Section 4.9.5A3a of the Land Development Code, the maximum surface area of the single side of a pole sign shall not exceed .15 square feet per linear foot of street frontage of the street on which it is oriented. Based on that ratio, the maximum area of the pole sign would be limited to no more than 72.59 square feet (483.95’ linear feet of frontage). The applicant is requesting a variance to exceed the maximum area of 72.59 square feet by 211.41 square feet.
VARIANCE 4 - According to Section 4.9.5.A3a, of the Land Development Code, ground signs may not be exceed a height of 4 feet. The applicant is requesting a variance to allow 2 directional signs at the entrances and exits to exceed the maximum height of 4 feet. On premises signage not exceeding 4 square feet that direct traffic and parking is not regulated. However, because the requested directional signs are 12 square feet in size, they are regulated and limited to a height of 4 feet. The applicant is requesting signage 6 feet in height.

We, the concerned Citizens and former leaders of Palisade, disagree and therefore appeal the variance give to G & G Petroleum, for signs at the project site 780 37 3/10 Rd, by the Palisade Planning Commission at the Aug 7th, 2017 meeting.

Our opinion is based on the following:
1) The variance was approved, despite/without regard for the fact that out Town Staff recommended against approval.
2) The variance is not necessary for the project to move forward shown by the fact that the Major Site Plan (project #2017-26) was submitted and approved prior to consideration of the sign Variance.
3) The project owner was aware of existing Town Codes prior to proceeding with the project.
4) The variance will allow signage that will detract from the natural beauty of the area.
5) The variance goes against the Town of Palisade's Comprehensive Plan, a well thought out process involving [many] hours of input from our Citizens, gathered from numerous Town Board meetings, Open House presentations, Professional consultations, Student Input groups, etc. This project was foreseen as a future possibility and was a part of this discussion, planning, and final document.
6) We appeal the 60' sign height allowed and excessive square footage of that sign as well as the overall size/height of signs on Elberta Ave.
7) This variance will set a precedent for additional non-conforming signs.

Citizens for Appeal:

Former Trustee Jim Harkreader
Theresa Harkreader
Former Trustee Jim Bennett
Penny Bennett
Former Trustee Mario Coringrato
Jackie Stapher
Former Parks and Rec Chairman Rick Fox
Shawna Fox
Nancy Bartlett
Tim Bartlett
Ellen Dean Wilson
Laurie Kollasch
Former Mayor Dave Walker
Michelle Walker
Former Trustee Dave Hull
Sandy Cooper
Former Planning Commissioner Karen Maheaux
Patrick Kelly
Nicolette Kelly
William L Carlson
Rondo Buecheler
Karl Prager
Janet Prager
Alice Dussart
Kathi Bledsoe
Michele McCaleb
Erin Stephens Marner
Joel Marner
Jeff Peak
Katy Peak
Felix Iovanni
Tim Wedel

In an effort to be an unbiased source of information, all text in this summary comes directly from government resources.