For the second time, the Commerce Planning Commission will recommend that the city council hold Walgreens to the city’s sign ordinance.
On a 3-1 vote Monday night, the planners voted to recommend denial of the company’s request for a variance in the size of a sign.
The Commerce City Council will have the final say in the matter at its July 14 meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Commerce Room of the Commerce Civic Center.
Walgreens sought permission for 43-square feet of signage. The city ordinance allows 24 square feet.
That request was the third the company put forth (the company presented one proposal to the city council) — all well above the ordinance, and Chairman Greg Perry appeared to be weary of the requests.
He handed Doug McGee, one of the site developers, a copy of the city’s sign ordinance and had him read highlighted sections about height and size.
“Is there something you and your company don’t understand about 24 square feet?” he asked when McGee finished.
“No sir, I understand it very well. That’s why I’m asking for a variance,” McGee responded.
“And why should you be entitled to a variance?” Perry countered.
“We feel ... the 43 square feet is not excessive,” McGee answered. “It is smaller than our tenant Walgreens typically has, which is 80 square feet, so they’re compromising to come down to something smaller.”
Perry was resolute.
“You’re asking for a larger marketing area, that’s the bottom line,” he said. “You want to jump on CVS across the street. You want a bigger sign, you want an LED sign, you want a rolling sign. You want to out-advertise them.”
Perry’s brother, Steve, heads the pharmacy department at CVS.
McGee pointed out that CVS got a variance on the height of its sign.
“We’re asking you for no more or less than to consider our variance,” he said.
Planner Joe Leffew supported the Walgreens request, pointing out that the store will be outside the central business district. CVS, just across the intersection, is inside the central business district.
“In the commercial district outside the central business district, we know we need to work on our sign ordinance,” said Leffew, referencing the Ingles sign and the new sign for the Commerce 85 Industrial Park.
Leffew made a motion to recommend acceptance of the variance. It died for lack of a second, after which Perry made a motion to recommend denial. Members Johnny Eubanks and Ronnie Seabolt supported that motion.