The Derby Board of Zoning Appeals approved two variances for a proposed Menards, but denied a 40-feet tall sign request.
Tom Staples, who lives in the neighborhood near the proposed Menards, asked the board to deny the sign. He said statements about the sign in advance of the meeting were that the company wanted it to be seen from K-15 and he did not see that as feasible. Staples also said the lumber retailer is a destination point and he believed the 5-feet tall LED messages would be a problem for traffic.
“I’m not sure I’m paying attention to what I should be paying attention to,” if watching that sign, he said.
He also noted that signs in the Rock Road corridor were not allowed at a 40-foot height and that businesses on Patriot should have to meet the same standard.
Tyler Edwards, representing Menards, said the company was not trying to erect a sign tall enough to be seen from K-15. However, they do believe the larger sign creates less traffic hazards because drivers can read it as they drive by, he said.
The proposed sign would have been 40 feet tall and 39.5 feet wide. The name Menards and the LED sign would each have been nearly 5 feet tall and the six blank spaces for future businesses in front of Menards were 75 square feet each.
By comparison, the largest monument signs at the Derby Marketplace are 25 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Edwards said he drove by the Marketplace signs several times on Thursday – a rainy day – and found them difficult to see.
“That’s what we are trying to avoid by raising them up and making them larger,” he said.
As they looked at the issue, board members disagreed with another statement by Edwards, that neighbors would not be able to see the sign because of the building behind it.
“That sign is 40 foot,” said Chuck Schneider, board member. “I don’t believe somebody is not going to see it.”
The board also said the size of the sign is detrimental to the general spirit of sign regulations in the city.
The board did approve a variance which will allow Menards to exceed the maximum fence height of the zoning district. Board member John Riggenbach said the architect could have avoided the variance had he not called the back of the 14-foot storage system a fence instead of a wall.
“He put that on there and confused the whole issue,” Riggenbach said. “Technically, I think it’s legal.”
However, it does appear to most to be fencing.
“This country boy says it is a fence – a real tall fence – but, it is a fence,” said Stu Sharp, board member.
Call it by any name, the board members approved the variance.
The board also gave permission for Menards to vary from the code with its signs on the walls of the building. Under the code, those signs cannot be more than 30 percent or about 400 square feet. With the size of this building, the signs are considerably less than 30 percent, board members said, but still over the maximum 400 square feet.
In sending a recommendation to the BZA, Planning Commission members had agreed to the variance on the wall signs. Members said the larger wall sign would help break up the large expanse of the huge Menards’ building.