COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Kia Sign Appeal
Appeal of ARB decision
Tucker, Foley, Kamptner, Cilimberg, Maliszewski
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
November 3, 2004
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
ARB Review of Proposal: On September 20, 2004 the Architectural Review Board reviewed an application to install new signs at the Kia automobile dealership on Route 250 East. The project included a proposal for a new freestanding sign. (See Attachment E for relevant portions of the applicant’s proposal.) The proposed freestanding sign was a monument style sign consisting of an illuminated cabinet on a base. Consequently, the ARB voted unanimously to approve the proposal with conditions, including the following:
The applicant is appealing the ARB’s decision to require a brick base for the sign. (See Attachment E for the applicant’s appeal request.)
Regarding the removal of the base, the 10’ length could not be accommodated within the existing landscape strip while meeting the required 5’ sign setback. Consequently, at the ARB meeting, the applicant stated that the design of the base would be revised to meet setback requirements. (See Attachment A for the ARB draft minutes, Attachment B for the ARB staff report, and Attachment C for the ARB Action Letter.)
ARB Guidelines: The original ARB design guidelines state, “Material used in both sign and support structures should reflect the building being served by the sign.” Recent updates to the sign guidelines call for complementary sign and building materials. The guidelines acknowledge that direct duplication is not always necessary, but they indicate a preference for base materials that match one of the primary building materials. In this case, the ARB considered the overall character of the site and the surrounding context and determined that a brick base was required for this sign to achieve an appropriate appearance for the Entrance Corridor.
Goal 2.2: Protect and preserve the County’s natural resources.
The purpose of ARB review is to ensure that new development in the Entrance Corridors is compatible with the historic architecture of the County and to promote orderly and attractive development. The ARB recognizes the need to identify businesses to help the traveling public find their destination and exit the highway safely, but the board also recognizes the Comprehensive Plan goal of protecting and enhancing the visual qualities of the County. As part of an effort to create a consistent, unified design approach along the Entrance Corridors, freestanding signs are evaluated in the context of the overall development in which they are placed. This evaluation includes a review of proposed materials.
The following discussion provides some clarification of the ARB’s conditions in light of the applicant’s comments contained in the letter requesting appeal. The ARB specified two requirements relevant to the appeal:
The ARB did not request that the base be rectangular, nor specify the overall style the base should reflect. The applicant is welcome to propose a modern design that meets the material requirements and otherwise meets the ARB guidelines. The guidelines do not require a traditional appearance; the ARB welcomes the thoughtful integration of modern design principles with local architectural tradition. (Please note the base configuration for the Crown Porche/BMW sign included in Attachment D.)
The ARB has not requested that the applicant alter the oval cabinet and recognizes the importance of this sign form in product identity. The combination of a brick sign base with a non-rectangular cabinet sign has many design possibilities; the ARB’s action provides the applicant an opportunity to explore these possibilities. (Please note the sign base and cabinet/sign relationship in the Tuffy Muffler sign illustrated in Attachment D.)
The ARB strives to maintain a sense of consistency throughout the Entrance Corridors in terms of both overall appearance and in detail. In this location, a brick sign base would not only coordinate with the building on site, it would also provide a coordinating element within the broader context of the Route 250 East corridor. Several of the businesses in the immediate vicinity, most of them auto dealerships, are identified by monument style signs with brick bases. These signs (as well as the Kia building) are illustrated in Attachment D. Consequently, a brick base for the Kia sign is appropriate for both the site and the greater context of the corridor.
Staff recommends that the decision of the ARB, including all of its conditions of approval, be affirmed.
A. ARB draft minutes for September 20, 2004.
B. ARB staff report.
C. ARB action letter.
D. Photos of signs with brick bases; Photos of Kia building.
E. Applicant’s appeal request and Kia freestanding sign proposal.
Return to regular agenda