Fraser trustees send Grand Park sign plan back to planning staff
September 3, 2009
Most citizens who spoke during Wednesday’s public hearing about a proposed Grand Park sign-code amendment said they were opposed to the potential for 18 freestanding signs along the highway.
“You guys got a real pickle of decision-making here,” said citizen Jack Gerstein, addressing the town board.
“But we don’t want Fraser to become ‘what happens in Fraser, stays in Fraser.'”
The Las Vegas jab was directed at a component of Grand Park’s proposed code that allows freestanding signs throughout the future Grand Park Village and along Highway 40 from north of the recreation center to the border of Winter Park. Tentatively written in the sign plan are freestanding signs sized 32 to 50 square feet, standing as high as 16 feet.
Sitting in the Fraser Town Hall with a ceiling height of 12 feet, citizen Eileen Waldow wondered why the development would need so many signs.
“No one has problems finding a place in Fraser. Locals know where it is, and the tourists ask,” she said.
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The Grand Park sign plan amendment has been the topic of six planning commission meetings out of the last nine. Three had been postponed by the applicant.
The planning commission forwarded the issue to the town board of trustees with a list of conditions. But according to planning commission member Peggy Smith, the commission never arrived at a consensus on the amount of signage to allow.
Freestanding signs and the ratio of signage allowed on storefronts remain at issue.
PowerPoint slides presented by Grand Park’s Clark Lipscomb during Wednesday’s meeting pointed out several areas of Fraser proliferated with freestanding signs – such as near a fast food restaurant and at the subdivision entrance across the highway – all of which are allowed by the Fraser sign code.
For Grand Park’s freestanding signs, Lipscomb proposed stone bases with lantern columns rather than signs mounted on tall poles.
For the recently opened General Store on the highway, Lipscomb showed a rendering of the rustic building sign he would want permitted set proportionately above the porch roof, but that type of roof sign currently does not fit within the confines of the Fraser code, according to Town Planner Catherine Trotter.
Such signs would be allowed in the amendments Grand Park proposes.
Lipscomb said he could pull a permit for a tall freestanding sign to call attention to his building under Fraser’s code, but does not want to do that – opting instead for a custom-designed look.
“I’m not a huge fan of freestanding signs,” he said, “but I do think they have their place in promoting the village.”
Lipscomb’s PowerPoint presentation served to explain the overall vision for Grand Park’s village signage, to which citizens and board members responded positively.
In crafting the village sign plan, he said, he borrowed heavily from Fraser’s sign code.
But board members agreed that language explaining the Grand Park sign-plan amendments at times fails to accurately reflect the vision Lipscomb set forth. In some areas, they said, the code is loosely written, allowing for misinterpretations.
There also remains the matter of the “interior” and “exterior” freestanding signs, board members said.
“Vision is one thing, code is another,” said Town Manager Jeff Durbin.
For that, board members kicked the sign code amendment back to planning staff to work with Lipscomb on clarifying definitions of signs and eliminating areas of ambiguity.
Left to decide is whether 3 square feet of signage per 1 linear foot of storefront is an acceptable ratio for the amount of signage on storefronts. And in that consideration, ‘how should a storefront be defined?’ asked Trotter and Fraser planning consultant Carrie McCool. Can a building have more than one storefront?
Lipscomb explained the Grand Park sign plan tries to tie signage to the scale of the buildings rather than the businesses in the buildings. In general, Fraser’s code allows 50 square feet per business rather than a building ratio.
“There are circumstances here where our code is more restrictive than Fraser’s code,” Lipscomb said.
“Maybe it’s time to change Fraser’s code,” said citizen Peter Nelson toward the end of the meeting.
The sign code issue will return to town trustees’ boardroom table on Sept. 16.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.