PALMETTO -- Palmetto city officials Tuesday checked out mock signs held aloft above McDonald’s, as they considered a proposed ordinance that would allow freestanding signs up to 85 feet high in a certain commercial district.
As a crane held up the faux signs at about the same size and height as those the proposed ordinance would allow, city commissioners rode past in a car to see how it would look from the intersection at U.S. 301 North and U.S. Hwy. 41.
The restaurant, at 699 10th St. E., in February took down its big sign for maintenance, and would like to replace it. The company wants the city to allow signs up to 85 feet high, with a sign face surface area of a maximum 400 square feet, according to a memorandum written by its attorney.
Under current sign regulations mandating a 30-foot height limit, such a sign would be illegal, the city attorney has said.
Last week, the board continued a public hearing to May 2 on a proposed ordinance that would allow taller signs in a special area along 10th Street West between Third Avenue West and Haben Boulevard. The city’s Planning and Zoning Board recommended the plan, while the city’s planning supervisor and zoning administrator opposed it.
“McDonald’s has learned through years of research that 70.3 percent (of customers) made the decision to visit a McDonald’s restaurant at the spur of the moment...,” wrote the company’s attorney.
“McDonald’s signage is a very critical visual impression, which helps to bring on that spur of the moment decision,” the attorney wrote, adding that business has fallen 12 percent since March, after the company’s sign was taken down.