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Visual Environment Board Minutes 02-25-04
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Present:        Doug Wehrle, chair; Valerie Leis, Kevin McManus, Ross Weale, Building Dept. Liaison Joe Sperber, Planning Board Liaison Ted Brumleve, and Trustee Liaison Leo Weiegman.
Absent:         Marianne Bosshart

The February meeting of the VEB took place one week later than originally scheduled.  Business included review of one sign application, a presentation about the upcoming “Stencil-a-Drain” program, informal discussion of several additional signs, and planning for interviews with four design firms identified for the next stage of the Village logo project.

1. Augie’s Too
Richard Barros of the Yonkers-based San Signs and Awnings appeared before the VEB on behalf of the owner of Augie’s Too, a restaurant opening in the space formerly occupied by Pizza & Brew in the ShopRite Plaza strip mall.  Mr. Barros presented the Board with digital images of two views of the building with the sign applied along with artwork showing the dimensions of the sign itself.  The sign will run 20 feet 8 inches in length and is 24 inches in height; the words “Augie’s Too” will be spelled out in burgundy channel lettering positioned below the existing external illumination, in the same position as the black Pizza & Brew lettering.  Holes left following removal of the old letters will be filled and the surface repainted before installation of the new sign.  Mr. Barros presented a sample acrylic letter to indicate the proposed color, which differed significantly from the presentation in the digital images and other artwork.
VEB Discussion:
a.      VEB members Valerie Leis and Ross Weale questioned the color of the letters, which neither matches nor complements the horizontal red stripes that run the length of the strip mall’s façade; they suggested black lettering (as in the Pizza & Brew sign) or perhaps a blue-green.  Mr. Barros acknowledged the mismatch and noted that the color matches that used in the existing Augie’s restaurant in Larchmont as well as the new restaurant’s interior color scheme.  He assured the Board that he would discuss its concerns with the owner.
b.      VEB chair Doug Wehrle commented that he preferred the cursive font that appears on the business card for the existing restaurant to the more straightforward serif font proposed for the new one.
c.      In general, the Board agreed that there should be greater uniformity among all the signs in the ShopRite strip mall, as there is currently great variation in size, color, and style.
VEB Recommendations
a.      While noting that the proposed sign occupies the same general space as the existing one and that it conforms to code, the VEB asked Mr. Barros to encourage the owner to change to a more harmonious color.

2.  “Stencil-a-Drain” Program
Charles Kane of the Water Control Commission (WCC) made a presentation on the “Stencil-a-Drain” program proposed by the WCC to help meet the educational requirements mandated under Phase 2 regulations of the Clean Water Act of 1986.  The other components of this program are a mass mailing of educational materials to residents and the presentation of a two-hour lecture stressing the importance of storm water management for the health of the two rivers that are among Croton’s defining characteristics.  The stencil, to be applied with the blue spray paint used to designate handicap parking spaces, will read “DON’T DUMP / Drains to River” and includes a stylized rendering of a striped bass.  Mr. Kane advised the Board that the WCC plans to enlist volunteers to apply the stencils to hundreds of storm drains in the Village, with particular emphasis on including children.
VEB Discussion:
a.      VEB members voiced their general support for the program.  Kevin McManus expressed reservations about what he considered the overly emphatic upper-case “DON’T DUMP” that would be painted in hundreds of locations throughout Croton, and Valerie Leis noted that it might be possible to include that part of the message only in trouble areas.  Other members of the Board felt more comfortable with the stencil as presented.
b.      Members also asked where the stencil would be applied and were informed that the WCC was considering a location adjacent to the intake cover along the curb face.  Doug Wehrle and others expressed concern that curb litter would be likely to obscure at least part of the message; members suggested that the stencil be located in front of the drain, if that will not be distracting to motorists, or at least 6 to 8 inches in front of the curb face.

3.  General Discussion of Signs
Doug Wehrle voiced concern with the neon signs that have appeared in the window of  a new hair salon that has opened in the Upper Village, just east of Creative Copy.  No application has been presented to the VEB nor any sign approved for this business.  Joe Sperber confirmed that the sign in the left-hand window clearly exceeds the maximum allowed under Code and expressed his intention to speak to the owner.  Joe also reported that the new owner of the deli that will replace Tricia’s Kitchen will be submitting a sign application; he also noted that the Board could expect to hear from the proprietor of a Subway sandwich shop scheduled to open in the ShopRite Plaza.

4.  Village Logo Project
Members of the Board confirmed their selection, made at a February 11th special meeting, of four design firms to move to the interview phase of the section process:  Parese Marketing & Design, Elton Robinson, Russell Design, and Wertheim Design.  In consultation with Planning Board Liaison Ted Brumleve and Trustee Liaison Leo Wiegman, members agreed that each interview should include specific discussion of designers’ methodology/creative approach, deliverables, schedule, and fee.  The VEB will then make its recommendation to the Planning Board and Board of Trustees on its proposed selection. Doug and Ross Weale agreed to draft letters to be sent over the Village Manager’s signature to the five firms whose proposals were not accepted, and to the four selected firms in order to schedule interviews.

The meeting adjourned at 9:50 p.m.