The Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Commission approved additional signs for the Diley Ridge Medical Center after a second hearing on the matter last week.
During their October meeting, commission members were split on whether to allow larger monument signs at the entrances to the medical center, along with a third monument sign in the middle of the property. Action on the necessary changes to the development text was tabled until the Nov. 13 meeting.
"What we're attempting to do is let the public know where we are before they need us," center Administrator Judi Wilson said. "The middle sign we were hoping for would help when someone misses the first sign. They'll see the middle sign and then be prepared for the next drive."
Commissioner Dan Konold said that over the past month, he's taken a survey of other area hospital signs and believes a third sign at the medical center is not needed.
"I took a drive past St. Ann's Hospital in Westerville and they only have one sign off Cleveland Avenue but multiple entrances, and I only saw two monument signs at Mount Carmel East off Broad Street," Konold said.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Andrew Dutton used Town Hall's video equipment and Google Streetview to do a virtual drive-by of the entrances at St. Ann's and Mount Carmel East to review the signage. According to this search, St. Ann's had a total of three monument signs and Mount Carmel East had five.
All three hospitals are affiliated with Mount Carmel Health System.
"I want to point out that Diley Ridge is a one-story building while those are multistory, which makes them much more visible from the road," Wilson said.
Commission member Jennifer Solomon said her mother, who does not live in the area, drove Solomon to Diley Ridge for a medical emergency last summer and missed the entrances to the facility.
"She blew by the signs in a panic, like a mom would, and that's an emergency situation," Solomon said. "She's not from around here and her opinion was that it wasn't very visible."
Commissioner Jeff Graber said the emergency room associated with the medical center should provide the planning and zoning commission enough of a reason to err on the side of "over-signage."
Following the lengthy discussion, the planning commission approved the third monument sign, with Konold casting a dissenting vote.
Commission members also held an informal discussion with Ryan Srbljan, a representative for Fixari Dental, 6441 Winchester Blvd., about variances for a new monument sign at that business.
According to development text for the Canal Commerce Center, the sign should not exceed 50 square feet or 8 feet in height, and must be set back 15 feet from the right of way.
Srbljan presented designs for a 64-square-foot sign that is 9.5 feet tall with no setback due to current landscaping and a trough behind the landscaping where the sign would otherwise be placed, according to current requirements.
"I'm inclined to have the sign in place of the hedgerow, which is at the zero setback," commissioner James Wynkoop said. "But you'll have to make it under 8 feet tall and not so long; the current 15 feet is a very long sign and that's not acceptable."
Fixari Dental intends to submit a formal request for a sign variance at the planning commission's Dec. 10 meeting, Srbljan said. He agreed to take the commissioners' recommendations into consideration for the final design.