Kent Walgreens seeks new, 25-foot electronic sign

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

Walgreens tabled a request for permission to build a new 25-foot-tall electronic messaging sign at its South Water Street location in Kent Monday after three Board of Zoning Appeals members expressed concerns about the addition.

Joel Frezel, of JF Signs, said Walgreens already has a monument sign that displays electronic messages on site, but the management believed a new sign was necessary because the current one is blocked from the view of drivers on Haymaker Parkway by the Key Bank Building. Walgreens was requesting a 173.57-sqaure-foot pole sign at the corner of Haymaker Parkway and Water Street.

"We feel it's important that there's an additional sign to identify the building," Frezel said.

He said the current location of the electronic messaging sign was "a very poor choice," which he said caused a practical difficulty for the business.

Board member Elizabeth Howard said she was leaning against approving the request for the sign, which she said could complicate an already confusing intersection.

"A sign with ... moving messages would be a distraction to motorists," she said. "I think it would be too dangerous."

Frezel countered that Walgreens' messaging signs do not move or flash, but replace one message with another at a time interval approved by the city.

Board member Dave Mail said did not buy the claim that the sign would not have an impact on the intersection.

"It would be a detriment to traffic flow at the intersection," he said.

Mail also questioned whether the pharmacy chain even needed a new sign.

"I drove down (S.R.) 59 coming here tonight ... and the sign you have on the front of your building shows up very well," he said.

Frezel said Walgreens would consider removing the original messaging sign if the board approved the new one.

Upon hearing the board discuss a compromise of granting a new sign, but one without electronic messaging capabilities, Frezel asked the board to table the request until its May meeting.

The board approved the request because only three members were present, and the board allows petitioners to come back before the full board if members are absent.

Frezel said he would return with additional research on the impact of an electronic sign at the intersection.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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