Guilderland ZBA tells Phillips to revise major sign gap request


GUILDERLAND – After filing a claim for his hardware store, Jonathan Phillips stepped into the breach again on March 2 with multiple waiver requests for signs for his planned gas station/doughnut/mini-mart at the corner of Routes 146 and 158.

Phillips runs the mini-market himself and partners with Mobil and a local Dunkin’ franchisee on the project.

Last month, Phillips applied to the Guilderland Zoning Appeal Board for a waiver to hang first four, then two, signs outside his hardware store, but then put that request on the back burner to focus on demand this month.

Chairman Thomas Remmert said “nowhere in the application” did it state “how many square feet in total” of signage the companies were looking to put up.

Remmert estimated there was 823 square feet of signage, with a few exclusions – 150 square feet of signage is allowed for the project; 50 square feet for each business.

That 823-square-foot figure was pushed into the thousand-square-foot range after the council discovered that Mobil would be looking to install logos on both sides of a canopy that runs over petrol pumps.

“That complicates things even more,” Remmert said. “I can tell you right now it’s got to go down,” he said of the square footage.

Remmert said it’s the biggest waiver request he’s heard in his time on the board. But the president later acknowledged: ‘It’s a corner lot, so you have two roads to manage. And that’s one of the reasons we’ve granted these types of waivers in the past.

However, the current request “goes far beyond that,” Remmert said of Phillips’ waiver from the waiver that was granted to Cumberland Farms at the corner of Western Avenue and Route 146.

Phillips, familiar with the waiver request process, said he “came to ask for more because if I asked for the bare minimum” it would likely become a problem for his partners with their business partners.

Remmert said the proposal needs to be revised.

A quote for the March 16 meeting shows a reduced request for 322 square feet of signage.

The signs themselves

Tom Wheeler of AJ Sign told zoning board members on March 2, “The point of signage is really to get people into the building, so they know what’s in there.”

There would be two large pylon signs on the property – one on each of the trunk roads – advertising the three businesses, he said, and there would be additional signage on the buildings as well as directional signage.

With the large number of panels on offer, Remmert said he thinks “the biggest issue is the size of the two freestanding panels”. He said he would like to see the square footage of the signs for each business.

Miguel Teixeira, the franchisee who would actually own and operate the Dunkin’ store, told the board that the package of signs came from head office, “so we understand it’s actually a lot. They sort of throw it all at us. And we put in place what they asked us to put in place.

Teixeira said the signs are necessary and the “reason for [that] is actually because we’re this impulsive company and our business – most of our business – comes from people walking by, looking up, seeing a sign, [and] pulling.”

Public audience

The March 2 meeting also served as the public hearing for the application, with 10 people speaking, evenly divided for and against the project, making many of the same arguments made in the January and February public hearings for the application. of Phillips sign for its material. shop.

This month, four letters were submitted to the board opposing Phillips’ proposal, while two close neighbors said they had no problem with the project. And, again, Phillips submitted a petition with hundreds of supporting signatures.

Phillips addressed some of the recent criticism of his projects.

“Everyone knows these days, [after] seven years of planning, sewer lines, financing, government, lawyers, engineers, municipal engineer — I could list 150 people I had to deal with in seven years to get this project to where it is. Badly planned? I think developing a corner like this that has never been developed was very well planned,” Phillips said. “And I had a lot of support between the city, the engineers and everyone. What did I miss? Sorry, I was not educated on the signs. Badly planned? No; there is a variance process to help me with that.

Remmert said, “When the State Legislature created zoning…they realized that zoning code cannot be written in stone; there must be give and take. And that’s why the state created zoning appeal boards, so that there were give-and-takes. And that’s why we have gaps.

The chairman estimated that the Guilderland Zoning Appeal Board had approved one to two waivers at “nearly every meeting”.

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