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Visual Environment Board Minutes 06-15-05
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Present:        Doug Wehrle, chair; Valerie Leis, Kevin McManus, and Building Dept. Liaison Joe Sperber.

Absent:         Marianne Bosshart, Ross Weale, and Trustee Liaison Leo Wiegman.

The agenda for the June meeting consisted of two signs for consideration and continued discussion of the logo implementation.

1. Samurai Japanese Restaurant
Two representatives of the new restaurant, which will take over the space occupied by the Far East Kitchen on South Riverside Avenue, appeared before the VEB.  They presented a sign designed by New Chung Wah Sign and Storefront, Inc. in New York City.  As proposed, it would be the same size and fit inside the same freestanding pagoda-like structure as the existing sign.  It would feature the words “Japanese Restaurant” along with images of several meals on plates, together with the restaurant’s phone number and words signifying that takeout will be available.
VEB Discussion:
a.      VEB chair Doug Wehrle and member Kevin McManus both observed that the sign as presented contains too much information, while at the same time omitting the restaurant’s name.  When the two representatives showed a draft of the restaurant’s menu, all agreed that the sign would be better if simplified—preferably by highlighting the “Samurai” name and including the image of a warrior along the lines of the one that appears on the menu.  This would have the additional benefit of promoting a coherent visual identity for the restaurant.
b.      Doug also discussed possible landscaping to enhance the “curb appeal” of the restaurant, perhaps including a low-growing Japanese maple.
c.      Valerie Leis commended the applicants on the work they have been doing on the restaurant, including the installation of an attractive front entrance.  She further noted that the building would be more attractive if painted a less garish color.
VEB Recommendations
a.      The Board agreed to consider a revised version of the sign as soon as it can be presented via email.  This revision will follow the suggestions made during the course of discussion, especially a less-cluttered approach and an emphasis on creating a visual identity for the restaurant.
b.      Board members suggested that the area in front of the restaurant be attractively planted.

2. Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
No applicants or sign designer were present for the Board’s review of the proposed signage for Coldwell Banker’s building at the intersection of Grand Street and Route 129.  As designed by Signs Inc., the sign proposed for the building’s façade would be rectangular in shape and feature the firm’s name against a blue background.  It would be mounted on the building’s second story, in between two arched windows.  A second, free-standing sign is mounted on posts at the front of the property at street level.
VEB Discussion
a.      Building Department Liaison noted that the address given for the building on the application was incorrect, belonging instead to the Coldwell Banker office in the Matra Building at the northern entrance to the Village.
b.      Valerie Leis questioned the presentation of the company’s name on the sign, noting her understanding that it should read “Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate,” not “Coldwell Banker Broker” as depicted on the application.
c.      All three members questioned the shape and placement of the sign on the façade, noting that the previous sign (for the Perry Kennedy real estate firm) had itself been arched on top—thereby reflecting the shape of the windows—and it was placed higher on the building.   The consensus was that the appearance of the building had been improved by the earlier sign, but not by the one being proposed.
VEB Recommendations
a.      The Board noted its questions about the name of the company as it appears on the proposed sign and asked that this issue be resolved.
b.      The Board urged that the sign on the façade be made more appropriate to its context and the overall appearance of the building.  One way of accomplishing this would be to fashion a sign that reflects the shape of the windows, as the previous sign had done.  If a rectangular sign is desired, it could be placed in a lower position—for example, above the main entrance, but below the second-story windows.

3. Discussion of the Logo
Board members agreed to invite logo designer Elton Robinson to next month’s meeting to discuss the process and pace of implementing the logo.

4. Marianne Bosshart
Doug Wehrle and his colleagues on the VEB noted that Marianne Bosshart will be moving from Croton and expressed gratitude for her contributions to the VEB, including her role in drafting the RFP for the new logo and her contributions to the design process.  Doug said that he would send a note to the Mayor informing him of the impending vacancy on the Board.

The Meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.