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Visual Environment Board Minutes 10-20-04
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, October 20, 2004

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

Absent:         Marianne Bosshart, Ross Weale, Trustee Liaison Leo Wiegman, and Planning Board Liaison Ted Brumleve.

The VEB considered one sign application, followed by brief discussion of several issues before adjourning early to a calamitous Yankees’ playoff game.

1. Bridge Auto Parts
Brian from Sans Signs and Awnings presented a sign application from Bridge Auto Parts, which will occupy the space  that currently houses another auto parts store in the ShopRite strip mall on South Riverside Avenue.  As presented to the Board, the principal sign would consist of 24 inch-high green acrylic letters spelling out the store’s name across a span of 329 ¾ inches.  The letters, which would be mounted so as to project outward from the white fascia board, would have “sides” composed of yellow acrylic.  In response to concerns expressed by VEB members via email prior to the meeting, Brian also provided four individual photos showing adjoining stores.  The Board also reviewed a second, smaller sign, to be mounted on the freestanding sign at the entrance to the parking lot.
VEB Discussion:
a.      The Board’s most immediate concern was with the yellow “edging” to the main sign, which clashes with the red stripes that run along the length of the strip mall façade where the sign will be mounted.  Suggestions included the substitution of green, black, or perhaps gold acrylic for the yellow.
b.      Members also expressed reservations about the length of the sign and the reliance on all uppercase letters, which together create a crowded, overbearing look—especially compared to the mixed cases in most nearby signs and the exclusive use of lower case in the existing auto parts store sign.  The use of a sans serif font added further to the sense that the sign seemed to be “shouting.”
c.      A third area of concern was the slant of the letters; Brian noted that this reflects the typeface used by the owner on his business cards.
d.      In general, members noted that the context-providing photographs should show a continuous stretch of façade to make it easier to judge the proposed sign in context.
e.      There were no objections to the design of the freestanding sign, which includes the store’s logo.  The use of yellow in that case does not clash with existing elements.
VEB Recommendations
a.      The Board strongly urged that the yellow acrylic that would form the side of the letters be replaced by another color—preferably black, as suggested by Valerie Leis, though the other members in attendance felt gold would be acceptable, though not preferred.
b.      Members also urged that the spacing between letters be reduced by 25 percent, both to make the sign more legible and to decrease the span of the sign slightly.
c.      The Board recommended approval of the sign pending these changes.

2.  “At Home” at ShopRite
The Board reviewed plans referred by the Planning Board for creation of a new “At Home” entrance to ShopRite, where customers could enter the building to pick up grocery orders placed over the Internet.   The new entrance, which would be located south of the main entrance to the store, would feature a canopy with the ShpRite logo.  A new crosswalk would connect the entrance to four dedicated parking spaces.
VEB Discussion:
a.      VEB members had no notable comments or objections to the plans as presented.

3.  Memo to the Planning Board
Doug Wehrle asked for comments regarding a memo to Ann Gallelli and the Planning Board that he had circulated to members earlier in the day.  It follows up on a discussion at the September VEB meeting about scheduling a catch-up meeting with the Planning Board; the memo also introduces the possibility of moving ahead with review of the sign ordinance and a sign guide.  Among the topics to be addressed with the Planning Board is the possibility of issuing an RFP for a consultant to work with the VEB on this project.

4.  Logo Project
Members briefly reviewed printouts of the draft logos that Elton Robinson had distributed via email.  Doug had reduced them in order to suggest which might work better than others on letterhead and other uses at that scale.  Members agreed that the target date for the next meeting with Elton would be Monday, November 10th.

The Meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.