South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Crestwood Board of Aldermen approve new electronic sign on Watson Road

Photo by Erin Achenbach
Scott Credit Union in Crestwood uses an electronic messaging sign.

Watson Road will see a new electronic message center after the Crestwood Board of Aldermen approved a conditional use permit for TD Nail & Bar to install a new sign at 9800 Watson Road at the board’s June 22 meeting.

The permit passed 5-2, with Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding, Ward 2 Aldermen Justin Charboneau and Mary Stadter, Ward 3 Alderman Scott Shipley and Ward 4 Alderman John Sebben voting in favor of the permit and Ward 3 Alderman Greg Hall and Ward 4 Alderman Tony Kennedy voting against. Ward 1 Alderman Jesse Morrison was absent from the meeting.

The approved sign has a brick base to match the buildings nearby and will replace an existing sign in the same spot. The new sign is roughly 8-feet across and 10-feet tall.

The city’s planning commission recommended unanimous denial of the electronic message center, or EMC, at its June 2 meeting, citing concerns that the proposed sign was in close proximity to other EMCs along Watson Road.

The city updated its sign code last fall and as part of that update, prohibited new EMCs within 150 feet of each other along the Watson Road business corridor.

The proposed EMC for TD Nail is about 55 feet from an existing EMC at Scott Credit Union, 9792 Watson Road, and 70 to 80 feet from another EMC at Pauline Books and Media, 9804 Watson Road.

The petitioner requested a modification to the 150-foot rule because of the existing signs at the other two businesses and the lot’s narrow frontage along Watson Road, making it impossible to place the EMC elsewhere on the property without it being within 150 feet of either signs of the neighboring businesses.

The original permit that was recommended for denial by the planning commission also called for an aluminum base, prompting a change to the new brick design which was presented to aldermen.

Trung Dang, owner of TD Nail & Bar, said his business is a seasonal one, so an electronic sign would keep customers updated.

“Every season there is changes and we need to get the message out there to promote ourselves and last through the winter, and some of the slower times,” Dang said. “I think it will be  beneficial for my business … to bring in more customers that way.”

Garrett Newhouse of Ziglin Signs said in his experience EMCs almost always increase revenue for businesses who have them.

“This is probably one of the best business tools as far as signs go anyone could have,” Newhouse said. “My biggest concern for Mr. Dang is that there is a business to his left who has one, and there is a business to his right that has one, so it would seem unfair and out of his control that he would not be allowed the same opportunity as those other two businesses.”

Hall was opposed to the permit, referencing the time the Planning and Zoning Commission spent creating the current sign code and the four-month moratorium against EMCs in mid-2019 on Watson Road.

“I understand the situation of a narrow lot and existing message boards, and that’s unfortunate for this piece of land,” Hall said. “I am concerned this message center does not conform to our distance code.”

According to Jeffrey Solomon, architect at VSP Construction, the spa only has 40 feet of front footage, and having an EMC would improve visibility for the store front.

“It’s very easy to pass up this building and the ability to use an (EMC) would help,” Solomon said.

At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting July 7, several commission members expressed their frustration with the aldermen’s approval of the sign.

“I understand the Board of Aldermen has a different constituency than we do, but I was disappointed to see our recommendation in regard to yet another electronic sign was overridden,” chairman Robert Sweeney said.

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