Rocky Fork Enterprise

Planning commission puts brakes on requested Speedway sign change

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Speedway LLC isn't a good neighbor, according to some Gahanna Planning Commission members.

The commission on July 23 rejected a request for new sign panels at Speedway, 376 Agler Road, with members saying the business isn't being a good neighbor to the city.

Commission member David Andrews requested that Speedway replace an existing pole sign with a monument sign when the business requested a variance to allow an electronic price panel on two existing signs.

Applicant John Saranzak said Speedway conducted an analysis and couldn't meet Andrews' request.

"The store is over budget right now," he said. "At this moment, with this remodel, it can't happen."

The business proposed the installation of LED price panels for employee safety because of the existing panels injuring employees. The LED price panels are more energy efficient and would be retrofitted within the existing frame, according to the application.

Andrews said Speedway has been in business in Gahanna for a long time.

"We asked UDF to do certain things, and they went overboard," he said. "I feel like you've been here longer and you're not doing it. I feel like you're not being a good neighbor. I'm sad you're not doing it."

Even if Speedway can't provide a monument sign, Andrews said, a decorative element could be considered.

"It's a target area we're trying to improve," he said. "For a long time, you were the only gas station on that side of Gahanna. Now there's UDF."

Commission member Don Shepherd said he thinks Speedway could change the sign, but the owners just don't want to.

"You have been here 25 years, and it's the same sign," Andrews said. "It's $2,500 for a monument sign. I think it's unfair. You enjoyed making money in Gahanna, but you're not willing to spend more money to make it look nicer."

Commission chairman Tom Wester said the sign would stay as it is without the variance for the LED panels.

Members voting against the electronic panels were Andrews, Bobbie Burba, Jennifer Price and Shepherd. Commission members in favor of the sign variance were Kristin Rosan, Joe Keehner and Wester.

The commission approved a variance for Speedway to allow an existing building to encroach into the rear-yard setback and to allow two cooler additions to be built with no rear-yard setback.

A certificate of appropriateness was approved for the site plan.

Keehner said he has no issue with pole signs.

"It's an aesthetic judgment," he said. "UDF was a more visible site into Gahanna. I have no issue with changing the technology (for the sign). It makes sense to change the technology. And the coolers will help the business."

Deputy development director Michael Blackford said Speedway is within the west Gahanna study-area boundary, where low-profile signs are encouraged but not required.

He said it was staff members' collective opinion that the proposed sign, though not in line with the recommendation of the study, is consistent with other signs within the general area.

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