The Triangle Signs - Half A Loaf
Last night the Costa Mesa Planning Commission approved the use of vinyl signage on a 300 square foot location at the Newport Boulevard/Harbor Boulevard corner of that star-crossed shopping venue. That's the short version of events. You can read Bradley Zint's account of the event from the Daily Pilot HERE.
In the past couple weeks Eastside neighbors have become incensed at the possibility that the commission would cave in to the current owners of The Triangle (formerly Triangle Square) and permit them to sell so-called "off premises" advertising on two locations on the building - the aforementioned southwest facing 300 square foot site and the 600 square foot wrap-around site that faces the terminus of the 55 Freeway as it emerges from the ditch at 19th Street.
Activists complained - see Katie Arthur's excellent letter from the Daily Pilot, HERE - that permitting such ads opens a Pandora's Box because once such signage is permitted, because of 1st Amendment considerations, it would be impossible to control the nature of the messages delivered by the signs. The complaints of the specter of condom ads and other equally offensive signs apparently caught the ear of several commission members and Don Lamm, the representative of the owners, Greenlaw Partners, because he withdrew the request for off-premises signage at the beginning of the presentation. Lamm is a former Costa Mesa employee - an executive in the Planning Department and former City Manager for the City of Westminster.
Residents would have preferred that NO signage be permitted on either location, but that ship had already sailed. The commission approved the vinyl signs on the larger location last March.Since vinyl signage had previously been approved for the large, wrap-around location, all that remained for the commission to consider was the smaller sign site. They approved it on a 5-0 vote.
ONLY ONE SPOKE FOR THE SIGNS
Many residents, including Arthur, spoke against the off-premises signage. Only one resident spoke in favor of it - a grumpy old fella who pretends to be a real estate developer among other things and who lives far, far away from the location in question. He's the same guy who has badgered The City for more than a year for a sign identifying the so-called "19 West" part of town until the most lame of signs imaginable was finally stuck in the center divider on West 19th Street just to shut him up.
Kudos to Lamm and Greenlaw Partners for recognizing the concern of residents near their center and pulling the request for off-premises signage. The current plan for more restaurants at that location might make it work. We'll know in pretty short order. In the meantime, very extensive and expensive renovations to the site continue and the gym in the basement thrives.