By Chris Mellides
The owners of the Melville Mall on Route 110 must chop the size of the strip’s 25-foot pylon sign down to 19 feet and push it back 10 feet from the road, the Town of Huntington’s Zoning Board of Appeals ruled last week.
The move comes six months after the ZBA instructed the owners, Federal Realty Investment Trust, to redesign the sign when it filed for a sign variance, according to John Breslin, of Breslin Appraisal, who represents Federal Realty.
“From the outset of the hearing it was clear that the board wasn’t really happy with the proposed sign, or the size of the sign,” said Breslin.
Breslin said that the ZBA has been consistent in that they “would like to see signs get closer to the code requirements whenever possible.”
“The applicant heard the message and went back and redesigned it, and made it smaller,” Breslin said.”
While the measurements for the redesigned sign do adhere to the code requirements, some board members were unsure whether the pylon sign was necessary in the first place.
“Because the buildings are so far set back, they are actually really easy to see,” said zoning board member Carol Gaughran. “The current sign actually blocks my view of the buildings versus showing me which stores might be there.”
Gaughran went on to say that because most vehicles are enabled with GPS technology, large mall signs are no longer necessary. Chairman Christopher Modelewski concurred.
“One thing that we prefer to steer away from is the proliferation of signs,” he said.
Breslin responded that Federal Realty is not asking to put up multiple signs, but instead wants one large identifying sign for the strip mall, the same as it is now.
“They’re asking for the one sign at the center location both to identify the location of the shopping center, identify the tenants that are in the shopping center, and it also provides the location of the access point,” Breslin said.
At the meeting last week, Federal Realty representatives suggested moving the sign further back -- putting it a total of 22 feet away from the curb -- to appease concerns of ZBA board members, but that any greater setback would block visibility and render the sign pointless.
The board finally decided that to grant Federal Realty permission to erect a 19-foot sign since it would in compliance with town code, and it would be an additional 10 feet away from the road.
“The board is a good board,” said Breslin. “They took all of the factors into consideration [and] they usually come to reasonable decisions. I think this was a good one.”