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Hauck's requests exemptions to City sign ordinance
Planning preview pic
The Turlock Planning Commission will consider approving a Hauck's sign program that includes a neon blade sign, which would extend over 7 feet into the public right-of-way. - photo by Photo Contributed

New downtown eatery Hauck's Grill is hoping the Planning Commission will allow a number of exemptions to the City of Turlock's design regulations and allow them to install a neon blade sign that would extend over 7 feet into the West Main and Broadway intersection.

Brownstone Equities, which owns the building that houses Hauck's, is requesting a sign program that would allow the installation of a back-lit, laser-cut metal wall sign approximately 5 feet by 3 feet in size to be located next to the front entrance and an exposed neon cabinet display blade sign that is approximately 7 feet wide, 31 inches tall and 12 inches deep.

The blade sign will project from the corner wall of the building 93 inches over the public right-of-way at West Main Street and Broadway Avenue. The bottom of the blade sign is proposed to be 15 feet from the sidewalk.

While the total sign area requested by Hauck's falls within the allowable sign area for the property, the blade sign deviates from the standards established in the Turlock Municipal Code and the Downtown Design Guidelines.

The proposed neon blade sign would be internally illuminated, which is not permitted under the Downtown Core Design guidelines. The Turlock Municipal Code limits the distance that a sign can project into the public right-of-way to 6.5 feet. The proposed Hauck's sign would project 7.75 feet into the public right-of-way.

The Downtown Design Guidelines restricts projecting signs to no greater than 2 feet by 2 feet. The proposed neon blade sign is 7 feet by 30.5 inches.

Most other signs in the immediate area of Hauck's meet the requirements under the Sign Ordinance and Downtown Design and Zoning Regulations, according to a City staff report. Projecting signs that have been approved along W. Main Street are substantially smaller than the one proposed by Hauck's and are not illuminated. Larger wall signs have been approved, but these signs are typically not illuminated. Awning signs are very popular because the signs are closer to the sidewalk and can be easily read by pedestrians and from vehicles.

Brownstone Equities stated it is requesting these regulation modifications in a desire to create a sign similar to the blade sign that was constructed on the building for the original Hauck's Pharmacy to reflect the historic aspect of the building.

City staff is recommending the Planning Commission adopt a modified sign program for Hauck's with a smaller neon blade sign. The staff recommendation would reduce the size of the neon blade sign to 60 percent of the applicant's proposal. This would reduce the dimensions of the sign from 30.5 inches by 84 inches  to roughly 18 inches by 50 inches, for a total sign area of about 6 square feet. The wall bracket would add approximately six to nine inches to the projection of the sign over the public right-of-way. The resulting projection would not exceed 4 feet, 11 inches,  less than the Turlock Municipal Code limit of 6.5 feet. The resulting sign area for the neon sign would be approximately six square feet which is still in excess of the area allowed in the City Code, but more in line with the size of the projecting signs permitted in the area.

Due to the fact that the Downtown Core Zoning Regulations do not expressly prohibit the use of the internally illuminated signs, City staff is recommending approval of this option. This option allows the applicant to have a sign that reflects the historic significance of the building and the Hauck's name.

The Turlock Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.