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Sign Review Board approves complex sign plan

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 by Gene Davis

The Sign Review Board approved a proposal Monday night for a North Central Austin development that the applicant representative, Husch Blackwell attorney Nikelle Meade, called one of the more complicated sign plans she has seen.

Meade told board members that planners made eight significant changes to the sign plan for “The Linc,” a development at 6406 IH-35 North, following the confusion the plan created at the previous meeting. The changes included eliminating any speculative signs from the plan and reducing the number of free-standing signs from 20 to seven.

“I just want to point out that the designers and developer took a lot of time to make sure this was the minimum request that we could make,” she said.

Board members approved the sign plan following the adoption of a friendly amendment to limit the height of two of the signs to 50 feet. The plan presented to commissioners Monday requested a maximum height of 55 feet and 65 feet for those signs.

“I don’t see there is any reason for having these (signs) going up and down, up and down through the area,” board member Bryan King said.

Before the vote, Meade reiterated the need for good signage for the development formerly known as the Lincoln Village Shopping Center. As Meade pointed out at the previous meeting, the nearby elevated interstate, flyover and trees obscure the development and have led to a vacancy rate higher than 50 percent. Developers hope to remedy that, in part, by increasing the visibility of signage for their project.

Highland Neighborhood Association Vice President Charlotte Garza again told board members that the neighbors nearest to The Linc support the sign plan.

“We’ve heard time and time again that new tenants aren’t willing to move into this site if they don’t have better signage, because in the past it’s been a problem,” she said. “Having brand-new tenants in there that area residents can frequent is something we feel very strongly about.”

The orderly discussion following Meade’s presentation was significantly different from the confusion that followed the sign proposal in August. Multiple board members expressed their satisfaction with Meade’s revamped presentation.

“I want to say I do appreciate you for addressing us, being concise and addressing our concerns,” board member Michael von Ohlen said.

“I would like to compliment the applicant for the presentation and working to clarify exactly what’s going where; y’all did a good job of making that clear to us,” Chair Jeff Jack said. “I hope in the future, when we have complicated cases like that that entail a number of variances in the same hat, we get it laid out as clearly as we can so we won’t have the delays we had in this case.”

Following the vote, Meade reflected on the “long process” that went into the sign plan and resulting vote.

“It’s a good outcome for everybody,” she said.


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