Stillhouse Signs Brew Concern
T.P.B. Confused by Proposed Signs for Brewpub
Story by John Thomas
Stillhouse Brewery Signs
The Town Planning Board on Monday night pondered the sign and awning applications from Stillhouse Brewery and Distillery under construction in the Gateway section of Ellicottville – where routes 219 and 242 meet. Town Planner Gary Palumbo gave his staff report on the applications. The wall signs and awnings will be located on the west and south sides of the building. One of the signs is circular and will be eight feet in diameter. The rectangular sign will be eight feet tall by eleven feet three inches long. The awnings will be ten and twelve feet in length and come out from the walls three feet four inches. The Planner said the awnings meet the code standards for size, location and material. The proposed canopies are to be constructed of Di-bond, an aluminum composite. Also, the drawings showed a slogan on one canopy saying “Where Buffalo meets Ellicottville.” The code says only the name of the owner or the business name may be on and awning. The rectangular sign meets the area standard of 96 square feet. There was also a logo shown on the plans that was not part of the applications and was not approved by the board.
It was the lighting of the signs that caused the most concern for the board. In the center of the round sign is a human skull wearing a bone crossed bow-tie and a derbies hat. The figure will stand out from the circular background and be backlit. The skull will be mounted on three-inch standoffs that will hold the sign three inches from the building. LED lights will be mounted to the sign facing the wall. They will create a “glow” around the figure. The same is true for the letters on the rectangular sign on the west façade, which includes a derbies hat above the lettering. The hat will also be back-lit.
Mr. Palumbo pointed out the current zoning codes are unclear when it comes to the type of illumination the brewpub proposes. He pointed out the codes say illumination for a sign should be directed at the sign and not cause glare for the adjacent property or a nearby road. The codes also state internally illuminated signs are not allowed. Mark Alianello said that might be a reference to the translucent plastic internally lit signs that were common when the codes were written. Mr. Palumbo said he didn’t know how bright the lights on the back of the signs would be. One board member wondered whether the signs would be allowed in the village. Palumbo said the Village codes don’t mention that sort of backlighting either. The board noted it appeared the background of the signs would be white. Another wondered if the lights could be made dimmable if the glare from them is too bright. There was concern that glare could cause problems for cars on 219. There was also concern about what on the drawings appeared to be lights illuminating the hat over the rectangular sign. Although they are more standard goose-neck lights over that sign and the round sign, it appeared that the gooseneck lights would interfere with the sign.
The Planner recommended that the Board approve the signs with conditions. 1) The sign on the south façade be limited to 96 square feet. 2) The sign on the west façade be limited to 50 square feet. 3) The printing on the awnings state only the name of the business. 4) Lighting shall be accent only and dimmable, so no glare is thrown on the road. 5) The logo shown on the lower left of the south wall is not part of the approval. 6) The lights on the rectangular sign on the south wall will need a revised drawing that must be shown to the Code Enforcement Officer. The motion passed
Digital message board signs consumed the rest of the meeting as the board considered changes to the comprehensive plan regarding rules for electronic display signs. The board discussed not only the allowable square footage of electronic displays, but the size of whatever may be holding the sign. The issue was what percentage of a sign would be allowed to be an electronic display. The board felt they did not want to see digital billboards of the type popping up in the Buffalo area. The board discussed the duration of displayed information and how frequently it could change. (This was similar to the discussion by the Town Board, see story Board Sees Signs, in this issue). Mr. Palumbo made notes from the discussion and said he would present them at the next Town Board meeting for their comments. Then the Planning Board will issue a set of recommendations for approval. The Villager will publish them at the time.