Two similar graphics variance requests that came before the Northland Community Council development committee Feb. 28 received similar treatment: near-unanimous recommendation for rejection.

In both instances, representatives for the applicants wanted to modify ground signs for Morse Road shopping plazas to include the names of additional tenants.

Committee Vice Chairman William Logan said during last week's presentations the urban commercial overlay for Morse Road requires that such signs limit the list of businesses to four.

Steven VanSlyck, general counsel for Stonehenge Co., representing Building 14K LLC at 1607-1639 Morse Road, was requesting two ground signs for two buildings on the same lot.

"It appears visually to be two lots," he said in asking for that variance from code.

One structure will have only two tenants, but the other structure will house six businesses, and all want to be listed on the ground signs, VanSlyck told committee members.

"The question you have to answer for us is why should this committee allow you to be the first to violate the commercial overlay?" Logan said.

He pointed out that 22 new businesses along Morse Road, including one as large as the Kroger store, have complied with the existing regulations. Kroger officials weren't happy, Logan said, but eventually "saw the light."

"If we agree to you, everybody else down the pike will want the same conditions, and we've said no to everyone else," Logan told VanSlyck.

"It's very difficult to operate a business if there's not a sign saying there's a business," VanSlyck said.

Committee Chairman Dave Paul said strip centers along Morse Road have signs that name only the four primary tenants. The vote recommending disapproval of that request was 19-0, Paul said.

In the only other case at the February session, Sean Clark of DaNite Sign Co., representing MC-NC LCC, requested a variance for the sign at the Morse Centre, 2100 Morse Road.

Instead of the current four-tenant panels, Clark said his clients want to split one and add a fifth name, that of a new bilingual charter school that's taking the place of the American School for Technology.

The vote in that instance was 18-1 against the variance, Paul wrote in his report.