SDAB decision for a Freestanding Sign

February 7, 2017 / Permit PointersSDAB

On October 28, 2015, I filed an appeal against the refusal for the permission to install a Freestanding Sign otherwise defined as  “Freestanding On-premises Sign / Minor Digital On-premise Sign”. On December 3rd, I appeared before the Edmonton Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) in a case that ended in favour of my appeal submission. Here is a brief summary of the issues and SDAB decision.

The case

In 2015, an application to renovate an existing Freestanding Sign was submitted. The original Freestanding Sign had received approval over 20 years ago. The development permit application was submitted after the upgrades were completed. The upgrades of the Freestanding Sign included the addition of a digital component. The improvements and the new digital component triggered the need for a new development permit application and the current land use bylaw regulations applied.

This proposed Freestanding Sign is located on a large commercial site in the McNamara Industrial area along 170th street NW in Edmonton.

The issues

Two issues were outlined in the original refusal from the Development Authority. One to do with the minimum separation distance between the proposed freestanding on-premises/minor digital signage and an existing freestanding sign also located across 170 street, and a second issue with the maximum number of Freestanding Sign on a commercial site. Here is a description of each issue.

Proliferation issue: Section 59F.6.k. states “The maximum number of Freestanding On-premises Signs, Roof On-premises Signs, Major Digital Signs, Minor Digital On-premises Signs, Minor Digital Off-premises Signs, and Minor Digital On-premises Off-premises Signs on a Site shall be four; ” The Development Officer determined that the site already had 6 signs falling under the definition of this Section making the application deficient by 2 Freestanding Sign.

Limiting distance issue: Section 59F.6.e. States: “If the proposed sign area is greater than 8.0 m2 to less than 20 m2 the minimum separation distance from Digital Signs greater than 8.0 m2 or other Off-premises Sign shall be 100m. ” The Development Authority found that the minimum distance to an existing Freestanding Sign was 73 metres or deficient by 27 metres.

The argument

I disagreed with the two sections of the Edmonton Zoning Bylaw contained in the written refusal of the Development Authority for the following reasons:

Proliferation issue: The overall site includes 10 large retail buildings with a frontage of over 280 metres along 170th street. The maximum of 4 Freestanding Signs as per the land use bylaw would be adequate with a smaller commercial site but discretion should be applied in the case of very large commercial site to allow for appropriate advertising. The maximum is intended to limit the visual impact associated with the proliferation of Freestanding Signs along a commercial road. The proposed 6th sign (which was existing for over 20 years) is reasonable in light of the size of the site.

Limiting distance issue: The proposed sign is 73 metres away from the Pattison sign located across 170th street and across a service road. Approximately 6 lanes and a median separate the two signs.The traffic and physical separation eliminate the potential impact associated with the proximity between the signs.

The decision on the Freestanding Sign

It was decided that the appeal would be allowed and the decision of the Development Authority was overturned.

You can see the full decision from the Edmonton SDAB HERE.

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