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June 19, 2009
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Present:        Sandy Hardy, Kevin McManus, Valerie Leis, and Building Dept. Liaison Joe Sperber.

Absent: Dou Wehrle, Tom Smith, and Trustee Liaison Demetra Restuccia.

The Board reviewed one sign application.

1. Treasures and Tales
Appearing before the Board on behalf of the new retail business at 139 Grand Street were owner Elizabeth Jacobson and designer David Un; they have not yet formally contracted with a company to fabricate the sign.  The proposal calls for a freestanding sign suspended inside a white wooden frame measuring 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  The sign itself would consist of 3 panels, each measuring 30 inches wide:  the top panel, suspended from the frame’s crossbar by a chain, would be 32 inches tall and contain the store’s name, slogan (“a unique boutique”), and distinctive dragon logo; the second panel, which would consist of three lines of text listing the kinds of items for sale and the store’s phone number, would be 10 inches tall; and the third panel, which would allow for magnetic letters to spell out upcoming special events, would also be 10 inches tall.  Uppercase letters on the top panel would measure 6 inches in height while letters on the two lower panels would be 2 inches high.  The sign would be made of a kind of polyethelene material with white lettering applied in a V-groove against a textured purple background.  The gold-colored dragon on the top panel will be raised above the sign’s surface, with the exact method of achieving this to be determined.

VEB Discussion:
  • After expressing appreciation to Ms. Jacobson and Mr. Un for attending the meeting to present their design, members launched into a discussion of the concepts behind the sign.  This includes the desire to create a “magical place” that would exemplify some of Croton’s distinctive features, notably its mix of people, including artists of all types.  In addition to offering gifts, home furnishings, and items sold on consignment, the shop will feature art displays, readings, and other special presentations.
  • Turning to the sign itself, members spoke highly of its general presentation, use of color, and overall quality.  Principal concerns focused largely on issues of visibility and legibility. The sign needs to be seen clearly above the picket fence along the sidewalk, and members noted that the 3 panels together present a considerable amount of text, which made it difficult to read.  Compounding this problem of legibility is the fact that so much of the text is in an italic font.
  • Members considered a number of possibilities before arriving at a consensus that the sign would be more effective if the lowest panel (announcing upcoming events) were removed and the second panel from the top (listing the kinds of items for sale) were made slightly larger, up to 10 inches high.  This would help boost overall visibility while reducing the amount of text contained on the sign.  The plan will then be to post a temporary sign to announce special events—either a sandwich sign or other approach to be reviewed with Joe Sperber—that, because it is not a constant presence, would attract special attention to upcoming events and so heighten their visibility.
  • Wrapping up a spirited discussion that ranged far beyond the scope of these humble minutes, Ms. Jacobson spoke about several other ideas for the property, such as outlining a tree on the front lawn with small white lights to create a bright, festive atmosphere while communicating the special character of the business.
VEB Recommendations:
  • The Board expressed its approval of the sign with the recommendation that the lowest panel be removed and the second panel made larger, as discussed.
  • Members wished Ms. Jacobson well with Treasures and Tales and expressed the hope that she will achieve her goal in reaching a special kind of place that, together with nearby businesses, will be a source of civic pride and contribute to rejuvenating the Upper Village.

The meeting adjourned at 8:19 p.m.