City grants permission for over-height signs
Drivers won’t be able to miss the signs — and that’s precisely the point.
On Monday night (Feb. 21) proponents of “The Collection,” the high-end auto mall currently under construction at the corner of Glover Road and the Langley Bypass, appeared before Langley City council to request a bylaw variance which will allow them to erect three 50-foot (15 metre) tall signs on the property. The request was granted.
Currently, BMW/Mini Cooper is the only dealer confirmed for the new auto mall, but the expectation is that other brands and businesses will follow. When they do, their logos will be displayed on the 900-square-foot (83-square-metre) ‘pylon’ signs located at the two entrances to the development — one on Glover Road, the other on Langley Bypass.
The third sign, a four-sided mast, will be installed on the roof of the BMW/Mini Cooper dealership.
In a 5-2 vote, council granted the variance which allows the signage to be nearly double the maximum height of eight metres (26.4 feet) allowed by a City bylaw.
“I know many people consider signage to be a type of pollution and I don’t blame them,” said Christian Chia, president of Open Road Auto Group.
However, he said, the signs that will be installed are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, and will be made of high-quality materials.
He said the large scale signage is necessary for several reasons:
While dealerships located on the corners of the development will be visible from the streets, businesses located within will depend on high-visiblity signage to attract customers, explained Chia.
The large scale of the 60,000 square-foot BMW building also demands larger signage, he said.
Relatively fast-moving traffic along the two major roadways makes it appropriate to have highly visible signs, added Douglas Steele, speaking on behalf of Kasian Architecture, Interior Design and Planning Ltd.
Steele said the issue of light pollution from the large signs has been carefully considered. They will be lit from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the winter and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the summer.
The front of the signs will be opaque with laser cut letters and logos where the light will shine through.
The signs will be coated in grafitti-resistant paint, and no cellphone transmitters will be mounted on top of the mast sign, as has been the case in other communities.
Asked whether future dealerships might want to install roof signs, Chia replied that it’s not likely, because each brand goes by its own set of design guidelines and BMW is quite unique in its use of rooftop signage.
Only one resident, a second-floor resident of College Court, spoke on the issue. The building, at 5765 Glover Rd. is located near the Glover Road entrance of the development, and Brett Friesen expressed concern that light from the pylon sign, located 200 feet (60 metres) from his unit, will adversely affect his quality of life.
An electrician by trade, Friesen pointed out that while a streetlamp may be brighter, the light is directed downward. In the case of the pylon sign, he said, it will be directed outward.
“It’s going to be infringing on my lifestyle and comfort and it’s going to be in my bedroom at night,” he told council.
Steele replied that a minimal amount of light will shine from the sides, back and top of the sign.
And, he said, the controls will be on a dial, allowing infinite adjustments.
Councillors Rudy Storteboom and Dave Hall cast the only two votes against granting the variance. Both cited concerns it would set a dangerous precedent.
“Bylaws are established for a reason,” Hall said. In this case, he added, it is to protect the look of the City’s skyline.
“What’s to stop other dealerships (from making similar requests)? I don’t believe we need to be Las Vegas in our signage.
“You have a good product,” Hall told the men. However, even with more understated signage, he said, people will recognize the quality product being offered.
“The signage is stylish,” said Storteboom, “but I don’t think it needs to be that tall.
“Others might follow the lead and we will have a race to see who can have the tallest sign.”
“It’s too tall and too bright, especially for the College Court folks.”