A proposed downtown sign at a long-standing Armstrong business may be a sign the City of Armstrong needs to review its signage bylaw.
Shepherd’s Home Hardware wants to put a 24-foot-high, freestanding animated, or electronic, sign on its Pleasant Valley Boulevard property. The business has applied to the city for a development variance permit that would allow the maximum height of a freestanding sign in a commercial zone to go from almost 20 feet to 24 feet, and would also allow an animated sign on the subject property.
In a report to council, city staff recommended against both variances.
“The variance to the height is not in keeping with the official community plan form and character guidelines for the commercial area, and it will set an undesirable precedent for other freestanding signs in the downtown and other commercial areas,” wrote staff in an eight-page report to council.
As for the animated sign, staff pointed out such signs are specifically prohibited in the city’s zoning bylaw.
“Concerns associated with the animated portion of the sign include distraction for vehicle drivers and glare onto neighbouring properties, as well as with the inconsistency in the OCP’s form and character guideline which seek to respect the city’s heritage and encourage a heritage theme in the downtown commercial area.”
There is an animated sign downtown at the entrance to the Hassen Arena parking lot.
Council, however, is in favour of allowing the variances.
“It’s not a small sign, but where it’s going to go it’s going to make it a little more attractive,” said Coun. Paul Britton. “I don’t have a problem raising the sign four feet and I don’t have a problem with the animated sign.”
Coun. Shirley Fowler pointed out that nobody attended the public hearing on the variance request.
“To me, that means nobody is concerned about it,” she said.
Mayor Chris Pieper was asked by Coun. Lance McGregor if saying yes will allow more such signs.
“Yes, but everything is different,” said Pieper. “If a neighbour wants the same thing, they have to apply for a variance, go through the same procedure, a public hearing.
“If we really wanted to change the zoning bylaw, we’re in the midst of looking at it and if we think it should be changed we should change it.”
Council voted unanimously to grant both variances though Councillors Steve Drapala and Ron O’Sullivan were absent.