VIDEO | Plan Commission votes down 652-square-foot sign proposal

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June 1, 2021 – West Bend, Wi – Discussion lasted less than 20 minutes and the West Bend Plan Commission unanimously voted down a proposal for a 652-square-foot sign on county property just south of Indiana Avenue on E. Washington Street.

The conversation went as expected as the Plan Commission reviewed the proposal which would be more than five times the size of signs currently allowed in the City.

“This definitely far exceeds the 32-square-feet,” said Jim Reinke with community development.

huge sign 652 square foot

“If we approve this… what will Kwik Trip propose next,” said Plan Commission member Mike Staral.

Other members including Alderman Jed Dolnick, and commission members Bernie Newman and Sara Fleischman also said they were put off by the shear size of the sign.

“Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that intersection controlled by a crossing guard,” asked Newman.

The reference was made concerning the school crossing guard and twice-daily bus traffic for Fair Park School, which would be located about a half block north of the sign.

Bob Jewell from Wisconsin Community Signs said he would head back to the drawing board and return with a more reasonable proposal.

Nobody from the community spoke during the public hearing, other than Jewell who said he would be available for questions.

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Below is the agenda issued Friday, May 28, 2021 regarding the topic of the monument sign proposed for the corner of N. Indiana Avenue and E. Washington Street.

The sign proposal qualifies as an off-premise sign and is restricted to 32 sq. ft. in accordance with 17.48(6)(d).  The sign request identifies the overall sign to be 652.5 sq. ft.

Wisconsin Community Signs has submitted a request for multiple sign exceptions for an off-premise ground sign containing a large electronic message center to be located approximately 226’ east of the intersection of N. Indiana Avenue and E. Washington Street at 432 E. Washington Street. The lands where the sign is being proposed is owned by Washington County.  The County Board has approved a lease agreement with Wisconsin Sign for the use of the lands for an electronic message center ground sign.

17.48(6) regulates off premise signs in the City.  The sign proposal qualifies as an off-premise sign and is restricted to 32 sq. ft. in accordance with 17.48(6)(d).  The sign request identifies the overall sign to be 652.5 sq. ft.  This far exceeds the requirements of the 32 sq. ft.  The applicant is requesting an exception to the sign size requirement for the off -premise sign.  In accordance with 17.48(8) The Plan Commission may modify the sign restrictions within 17.48 to overcome constraints due to poor site visibility, excessive setbacks or other physical constraints.

17.48 (10)(b)2 of the sign code requires electronic message centers to be 16 sq. ft. per side or less in area and limited to a total of 32 sq. ft. per parcel, or the developer may request an Urban Design exception from Plan Commission for an oversized sign after a Class 1 public hearing has been held.

Wisconsin Sign is requesting the Plan Commission to consider an Urban Design exception to allow for a 200 sq. ft. electronic message center.

17.47 (4)(d)2 of the urban design standards permits the maximum height of a sign to be 22’.  The sign proposal has the overall sign height at 22’-6”.  The applicant is requesting an Urban Design exception to permit the 22’-6” overall sign height.

Given the visibility of the sign location from the neighboring residential lots to the west, an auto-dimming feature would normally be required to minimize the impact of glare from the sign.

A narrative letter has been submitted by Wisconsin Community Signs explaining the request for the sign submittal.  The letter explains that the main function of the sign will be utilized as a community sign for advertising and supporting local businesses.

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