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Planning approves smaller version of multi-tenant freeway sign
planning pic
The Planning Commission approved a multi-tenant freeway sign design with 500 square feet of sign area per side with six tenants, four with 10 feet by 10 feet panels and two with 5 feet by 10 feet panels. - photo by Photo Contributed

Bigger may not be better according to the Turlock Planning Commission.  After two months of back and forth with Planning and city staff, Main Street businesses and developer Reed Onate will be able to move forward with building a multi-tenant freeway sign — albeit at a smaller scale than the original plans.

The original design was an 85-foot tall, 38-foot wide structure that incorporated nine panels on each side, totaling 1,319 square feet per side. This design was shot down by the Planning Commission.

“We want all the signs in the town to look relatively the same,” said Katie Melson, assistant planner for development services. “But we don’t want to restrict Mr. Onate. There is no guidance as to how we should stray from these signs when you use a conditional use permit.”

At Thursday's Planning Commission meeting, Onate presented two new design options to comply with the Planning Commission’s suggestions. Onate's preferred option, at a total of 1,200 square feet, was ultimately rejected. The commission did, however, approve the second option — an 85 feet tall, 24 feet wide multi-tenant freeway sign with six tenant spaces for a total of 1,000 sq. ft. of overall sign area. Two of the panels will be 5 feet tall and 10 feet wide, while four of the panels will be no larger than 10 feet by 10 feet.

The commission also approved the Days Inn panel of the sign to have an electronic rate changer, but with the restriction that it cannot change more than eight times per day, in accordance with Turlock’s Municipal Code.

Most of the commissioners were also concerned with the missing “Welcome to Turlock” text that was implemented in the first design stages.

“Seeing a ‘Welcome’ sign would be nice to have rather than just ‘Turlock’ written at the top,” said Commissioner Nick Hackler.

Even though most of the commissioners agreed that they preferred the “Welcome to Turlock” phrase at the top of the initial design, Deputy Director Development Services Debbie Whitmore, said that the sign may not look as aesthetically pleasing or structurally possible with the added wording after reexamining Option 2.

In the end, the Commission voted to approve the Option 2 multi-tenant sign with a  preference for the “Welcome to Turlock” wording. if the design would be structurally, mechanically, and aesthetically feasible.

The commission also ruled on changes to the existing "Days Inn" cabinet sign on the property of the former Waffle House. The commission approved cabinet sign repairs and refacing and the building of a  3 foot tall monument sign on the property, if the missing property owner can be contacted.