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Visual Environment Board Minutes 03-17-04
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, March 17, 2004

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

The March meeting of the VEB included consideration of one sign application, followed by discussion of other issues along with the Village logo project in anticipation of next month’s interviews with four designers.

1. Subway
Discussion of the sign application for the new Subway sandwich shop at 420 South Riverside Avenue took place in two stages:  an initial consideration of the sign as submitted, followed by additional conversation after the arrival of White Plains Sign Group’s John Lorenzo, who had been delayed in traffic.  During their preliminary review, Board members agreed that the sign was acceptable as presented; Ross Weale noted in particular that the application was exemplary in its completeness.  
As submitted, the proposed storefront sign would consist of the trademarked Subway logo in white and yellow letters with a bottle green outline, applied to a white acrylic fascia panel measuring 15 feet long by 2 feet high.  The background would be white, as in the adjacent stores.  Internal illumination would be supplied by two existing rows of fluorescent lights.  Plans also call for inserting two 12” by 46” panels in the existing pylon at the entrance of the Shoprite strip shopping center.  These would also feature the Subway logo in white and yellow with bottle green outline against a white background.
VEB Discussion:
a.      Following Mr. Lorenzo’s arrival, the Board considered a variant of the storefront sign that would feature the white (“Sub”) and yellow (“way”) letters against a green background.  VEB Chair Doug Wehrle and Ross Weale responded favorably to the change, noting among other benefits that it might encourage other merchants to seek more originality and flair in their signs, while breaking away from the current model of dark letters on white background.  At issue is the desire to relieve the continuous banner approach to signage common in Croton-on-Hudson’s strip centerswould help add some variety to an otherwise drab shopping center and perhaps encourage other merchants to seek more originality and flair in their signs.  Valerie Leis and Kevin McManus expressed reservations about the green background on the basis that introducing a new background color at the end of the continuous white fascia panel might look too discontinuous and miscellaneous.
b.      On reviewing a photograph of the frontage of all three stores in that section of the shopping center, the Board Ross agreed that the green background might add a discordant note.  The Board then worked with Mr. Lorenzo to devise an approach by which the green background could be preserved as a backdrop to the white and yellow copy while retaining a white border around what would be a green rectangular “plaque.”, thereby maintaining continuity while creating a distinctive sign.
c.      Mr. Lorenzo estimated that there could be a 5-inch white border above and below the green background, with the arrows (at the beginning of the “S” and end of the “y”) extending into the white.  He agreed with Marianne Bosshart that the green backdrop extending beyond the copy to the left and the right should not exceed the width of the “b.”

VEB Recommendations
a.      Mr. Lorenzo will design a storefront sign that incorporates the Board’s suggestions, providing a modified green background white retaining a sense of the continuous white fascia panel.
b.      All agreed that the twin pylon signs should be produced with the full green background.
c.      The Board asked Mr. Lorenzo to remind the storeowner that window signs could not exceed 25 percent of the total window area, and he assured them he would pass the message along.

2.  VEB Slide Show
The Board briefly discussed text that Doug Wehrle had drafted to accompany the planned VEB slide show.  Marianne Bosshart commended Doug on the approach he had taken, and Doug passed the material along to Ross Weale for his use in putting the slide show together.  Kevin McManus suggested thatan alternative approach to the section on the “built environment” should better arguing that Croton’s built environment provides the key to identifying the distinctive quality that sets the Village apart from many other places.  That quality ; he which has come increasingly under assault during as  the past few decades’ development, in the Village has followinged the same pattern as everywhere else, with auto-dependent strip shopping malls and conventional suburban pods.  In picturing parts of the Village that continue to make it special, the slide show could emphasize the need to preserve them, to adapt them to new uses if required, and to use them as a model for future development.  VEB Chair Doug Wehrle asked McManus to write up his suggestions for Ross to use in moving ahead with the project.

3.  Sign Ordinance and "best practices" Sign Guide
The Board discussed its intention to provide the Planning Board with suggested revisions to the sign ordinance by year’s end.  The Board also acknowledged that development of model signage document would require the help of a consultant, once a scope of work is established and authorization is received to proceed with an RFP.
4.  Report on the state of Croton's visual environment
The Board discussed its intention to provide the Planning Board and Board of Trustees with a memo report on the state of the Village's visual environment.  It was agreed that the slide show presentation could provide a format although, while the slide show highlights “best practices,” the state of the visual environment report must provide a comprehensive inventory of both good and objectionable elements.

5.  Logo Project
The meeting concluded with extended discussion of upcoming interviews with four designers selected to move to the next phase of the logo project.  Kevin McManus will call Parise Design to confirm that they received the Village Manager’s letter setting up an interview and to ask if they might switch times with Russell Design, since Anthony Russell has a schedule conflict on the night assigned.  After discussing questions each designer should be asked to ensure a fair comparison, the Board turned to a discussion of when best to invite public input into the process.  Members did not reach consensus on this issue and will ask Leo Wiegman and Ted Brumleve for their thoughts.

The meeting adjourned at 10:50 p.m.