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Sign Board postpones confounding variance case

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by Gene Davis

After calling the plan “confusing” and “difficult to follow,” the Sign Review Board voted unanimously Monday to postpone consideration on a variance package to allow larger signs at an Austin hospital.

The sign plan sought multiple variances for four signs at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, 12221 N. MoPac Blvd. However, after discussing the proposed variances for approximately five minutes, Board Member Ricardo De Camps told Michael Hunter, the self-described “sign installation person” for the medical center, to come back next month with clearer depictions of the height and sizes of the proposed signs.

“I think it’s unfair for us, and there is some extra time you could take to prepare a package that is readable and allows for us to follow,” De Camps said.

“The package needs to be a lot clearer,” Board Chair Jeff Jack added.

Hunter said the city approved an identical variance package for other signs at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center approximately five years ago. The hospital wants the larger signs for its new children’s emergency room.

De Camps and several other board members noted the similarities between the medical center’s complex sign plan and the plan the board ultimately approved for the Linc, a North Central Austin development. Jack advised Hunter to look at the Linc’s sign plan for tips on how to revise the medical center’s sign plan.

“And don’t take the old signs down until you get approval for the new ones,” Jack urged.

St. David’s North Austin Medical Center is a full-service hospital that offers surgery, heart and vascular care and has a kidney transplant center, according to the hospital website.

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