ST. GEORGE – An incoming commercial center on River Road continues to move forward, though not without some bumps along the way. Concerns over the number and size of business signs and possible light pollution from the commercial development at River Road and 1450 South was a topic of concern for area residents and city officials during a St. George City Council meeting Thursday.
Developers presented the master sign plan to the City Council for the Boulder Creek Crossing and Boulder Creek Commons commercials centers.
The master plan called for a total of three pylon signs standing at 31 feet tall, 12 monument signs at 9.5 feet and one monument sign at 13.3 feet. The latter is slated for an incoming Rite-Aid. Some signs would also feature electronic reader boards.
The number of signs requested was more than the city’s sign ordinance allows for along what isn’t designated a “major commercial” street.
“In my mind it is a major commercial area,” developer Mike Sheffield, of the Sheffield Group and Sheffield Development Inc., said, adding that the incoming commercial center will certainly add to that distinction.
River Road between Red Cliffs Drive and 700 South is seen as a major commercial roadway where the city’s sign code would be somewhat friendlier to what Sheffield was seeking.
Under current code, the City Council shall designate a street a major commercial area when 70 percent of it consists of commercial property, City Attorney Shawn Guzman told the council.
However, the code doesn’t preclude the council from considering such a designation for patches of roadway, which it could do for the part that passes though the commercial development.
Mayor Jon Pike said that option is one the city should look at in general as developments similar to Boulder Crossing and Commons pop up in the future.
While the council had little issue with the proposed monument signs, council members weren’t ready to sign off on the electronic portions of those signs or the 31-foot-tall pylon signs.
Sheffield said the pylon signs would only have a couple of business signs on them, namely the anchor businesses they are trying to attract for the project. Certain businesses have a uniform formula they use in how they market themselves and there is little room for compromise, he said.
“We have to meet the need to represent (those businesses) well,” Sheffield said.
While the council had its reservations, area residents like E.J. Arlidge objected to potential view obstruction and light pollution all the signs could bring to the neighborhood.
Arlidge, who lives on the hill overlooking the Boulder Creek projects, said that there is already a lot of light pollution in the area due to the Maverik convenience store and gas station on 1450 South Street. While Sheffield said the larger signs were not in the path of Arlidge and his neighbors’ view, Arlidge said he and others would nonetheless be blinded by them at night.
Those who addressed the council during the public hearing said they were not opposed to the development, and even welcomed it; they just wanted something done about the proposed signage and potential light issues.
Ultimately, after over two hours of comments and deliberation, the City Council voted to allow the 13 monument signs, though without any electronic elements. City staff was also directed to look at the feasibility of that segment of River Road being designated a major commercial area.
“We’ve spent two hours and 20 minutes on this, and I think that’s important,” Pike said.
Issues regarding commercial signage in St. George tend to be complex and time-consuming whenever they arise. The city’s current sign ordinance has been called a compromise between city officials and businesspeople.
While the commercial development’s sign plans hit some snags, two additional agenda items related to the project passed without issue.
A zone change for a 1.4 acre lot on the corner of River Road and Bundy Lane was approved, making way for a Stevens-Henager College slated for that location in the Boulder Creek Crossing segment of the project.
To the east, in Boulder Creek Commons, another zone change was approved for an acre-plot designated for possible restaurants.
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