VEB Minutes September 18, 2007
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Present:        Sandy Hardy, Kevin McManus, Tom Smith, and Building Dept. Liaison Joes Sperber.

Absent:         Trustee Liaison.

VEB Chair Doug Wehrle was only able to make a cameo appearance at the meeting before heading off to a second meeting devoted to the Village’s business districts; Sandy Hardy chaired the VEB meeting on his behalf.  The Board reviewed three sign applications.  No applicants attended the meeting.

1. Edward F. Carter Funeral Home
The Edward F. Carter Funeral Home at 41 Grand Street has submitted an application for a new acrylic sign face to replace the existing sign mounted at the base of a bay window on the building’s façade.  It would measure 4 feet and one-half inch wide by just over 1 foot 8 inches high.  The new face will feature white writing on a black background, with an oval above the funeral home’s name bearing the logo of “Dignity Memorial,” a national chain of funeral, cremation, and cemetery service providers.
VEB Discussion:
a.      In comments submitted by email prior to the meeting, Doug noted that the sign is wider than the panel under the bay window on which it is applied, so it juts out beyond that architectural element on either side.
b.      At the meeting, other VEB members echoed this concern, noting that the black background of the new sign face—as opposed to the white background of the existing sign—made its excessive length more noticeable.
c.      Members commented that, questions of its width, the sign was attractively designed.   
VEB Recommendations:
a.      The Board strongly recommended that the sign be made less wide so that it would fit in the space for which it was intended.

2.  Kamp K-9
The Board reviewed proposed signage for a new business, Kamp K-9, that would provide daily boarding and care for dogs in the storefront at 12 Maple Avenue in the Capriccio 1 strip mall.  As presented, the sign would measure 2 feet high x 12 feet in length and occupy the same light box utilized by other recent businesses at the same address.  The sketch of the sign included with the application included the business’s name in a typeface identified by Board members as resembling Cooper, with the descriptive tag “Doggy Day Care” stacked on the right side of the sign’s face.

VEB Discussion:
a.      Tom Smith and Sandy Hardy both observed that the font used for the business name looked old-fashioned and the letters were too widely spaced.
b.      Further, the Board cautioned against using a typeface that would in some ways echo and compare unfavorably with the one used for Dunkin Donuts just a short distance away in the adjacent strip mall.
c.      Tom sketched out an alternative approach to the sign that would employ a typeface such as Helvetica rounded or even plain Helvetica; this would offer the benefit of appearing less dated than the proposed sign while retaining a sense of personality and playfulness.  The revision also calls for tightening the spacing of the name “Kamp K-9” and stacking the words “Doggie Day Care” in such a way that the first letter of each word is aligned.
d.      Further, the Board suggested that the lettering should be a bright color, rather than black; however, members said the color should not be red—the color of the Capriccio sign right next door—the but perhaps in the orange family.
VEB Recommendations:
a.      The Board recommended that the sign be revised in keeping with the sketch by Tom Smith included as Attachment A to these minutes.

3. Forty-Four Tapas Lounge
The final application to be considered by the Board was proposed signage for Forty-Four Tapas Lounge at 44 Maple Street.  This new restaurant will be located in the storefront formerly occupied by Agave Azul.  The proposed sign, as designed by Signs Ink, would apparently be mounted on a lightbox measuring 2 feet high x 10 feet in length.  The words “Forty-Four” would appear in a blue cursive typeface against a background, with the numerals “44” appearing in grey in the lower left corner of the sign.  The words “tapas lounge” would appear in all lower case white letters in the lower right-hand corner.

VEB Discussion:
a.      Members questioned why the sign was apparently being done as a light box, when the other signs on the strip mall use channel lettering.  They argued that this constituted a significant step in the wrong direction compared to the nearby signs and urged that it not be done.
b.      The group likewise asked why the light box apparently extends below the fascia board, noting that it should fit completely inside that vertical space.
c.      Members also expressed strong reservations about the appropriateness of the black background and typeface for the words “Forty-Four” for this type of restaurant, suggesting instead that it should have a Spanish or cozy or elegant feel.  Tom and Sandy spoke approvingly of the typeface used for the words “tapas lounge” and suggested that the descriptor should be larger, so as to identify the kind of restaurant for passing motorists.

VEB Recommendations:
a.      In sketching out the revisions to the sign contained in Attachment B to these minutes, members suggested that the entire sign could be made longer.  The “44” would appear only once—either in words or numerals, but not both.
b.      In either case, the words “tapas lounge” would be made larger.
c.      The colors of the sign should also be revisited to make them warmer and more inviting.
d.      Of particular importance, members agreed that the use of a light box for the sign is unacceptable.  Either of the suggested revised treatments could be accomplished with channel lettering and not a light box.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Attachment A

Suggested Revision to “Kamp K-9” sign


Attachment B

Suggested Revision to “44” Tapas Lounge sign