In a sign of things to come, Hardee’s has been given permission to use internal illumination in its sign to help reduce light disturbance for its neighbors.
Historic Zoning Commission members Bobby Kirby, chair, Rachel Killebrew and Steve Harvey approved a Certificate of Appropriateness on Friday allowing Hardee’s to deviate from Historic Zoning Guidelines by placing a sign that has internal illumination. Guidelines require external illumination.
A special meeting of the commission was called to address the issue.
“The proposed signage that was presented does not meet the historic requirement of being externally illuminated,” said Planning and Zoning director Nolan Ming.
Ming recommended approving an internally lit sign because: 1) an externally lit historic sign does not fit in with a modern building; 2) neighbors would prefer an internally lit sign; 3) this is not the first internally lit sign in the historic district.
“The Historic Zoning Commission allowed this building, which is in the historic district, to be demolished and didn’t require any historic design elements to be incorporated in the proposed restaurant design,” said Ming. “Requiring the signage on the new proposed restaurant to be externally illuminated would create a disconnect design because you would have a new building with a modern design mixed with historic lighting elements on the signage. I think we would all agree we would like to see consistent design that flows well together.”
Neighbors would prefer internally lit to reduce light nuisance, says Ming.
“I’ve had input from some of the neighbors indicating they would support internally illuminated LED signage versus external illumination based on the fact internally illuminated LED signage would control light pollution better than the externally illuminated sign,” said Ming. “The proposed internally illuminated LED signage is much softer and more controlled than the existing signage. Dairy Queen and Taco Bell use similar sign elements.”
Hardee’s owners plan to completely demolish the existing building and construct one that is a “reverse image” which will move the drive-thru window to the opposite side of the building and move the order stations and speaker posts from the back of the property to the front. The new building would help address traffic and noise issues, while the new signage would address lighting complains.
Ming says internally lit signs already exist in the historic district.
“There are over 20 internally lit, illuminated signs in the historic district currently,” said Ming. “Some of which include City Hall, First United Methodist Church and Park Theater. Why require Hardee’s to externally illuminate its signage on the new building?”
The measure to allow Hardee’s to use an internally lit sign passed unanimously.