New Golden Arches sign gets nod from Canton village trustees following hearing Wednesday night
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
CANTON — The Golden Arches planned for the new McDonald’s restaurant to be built 111 East Main Street will be 68 square feet and 25 feet above ground.
The village board of trustees approved a variance for the iconic brand sign at their Wednesday, Nov. 18 meeting. The approval will allow for a larger sign than is customary under village code.The variance approval was referred to the board of trustees by the village planning board. Mayor Mike Dalton told trustees that, according to the village code, any variances outside normal code approval are supposed to come to the village board for a final say.
McDonald’s variance request included three parts.
The first part of the request asking for the 68-square-foot sign is a variance from Village Code §264-6(B), which allows a “freestanding sign not exceeding 32 square feet in area and a height not exceeding 12 feet above ground level.”
The restaurant also asked for permission to install 5 wall signs, including 2 “arch” signs and 3 McDonald’s signs on the restaurant structure itself. This request is a variance from village code permitting one sign on the front wall of a building, and one sign on the rear or side wall of any building abutting a parking area or public way.
Plans for the “arch” wall signs call for them to be 3.5 feet in height and the restaurant also asked for a variance from the village code which requires those signs not exceed 2.5 feet in height.
A public hearing about the variance was held prior to the meeting.
During the hearing, village resident Toby Irvin asked how the request compares to other signs in that area of the village. The new restaurant site is next door to the Canton Price Chopper, and is surrounded by several businesses. “You’ve mentioned that you’ve gotten other requests but the signs out there appear to be pretty tailored,” Irvin said.
Dalton pointed out that the 78.9 square feet sign for the Mountain Mart next door to the McDonald’s site was approved under a previous variance. “I went out and measured that sign, and I think Jeff (Murray, code enforcement officer) did too. And, I came up with about 21 feet off the ground,” Dalton said.
Dalton said other signs in that area vary, with some meeting the code and others, like the hotel across the road, varying from code.
“This one (the McDonald’s sign variance request) compares very similarly to the sign request that Mountain Mart had,” the mayor said.
“It just seemed to me that the several requests all were in excess of the code, and were nuanced,” Irvin said. “I mean is anybody going to miss the arches and not know that its McDonald’s?” Irvin said.
Dalton said that the “massive” Golden Arches on many McDonald’s restaurants in the region, like the one on the Potsdam location, will not be installed at the Canton site. “Their sign has become much more subdued, and they’ve added the arches on the building itself, which are a lot smaller than anything I’ve seen,” said the Mayor.
“I guess my comment would be that we have a code in place and if we have a code we should try to adhere to it,” Irvin said. “That stretch of road is not out of control with signs at this point, but every additional variant makes it so. I would encourage holding back on some portion of that.”
“That part of the village is very unique compared to the rest,” said Town Councilman Tim Danehy, who previously served on the village planning board. Danehy said the speed limit increases through that section of the village and buildings tend to be further back from the road. “So what seems appropriate in a C1 district closer to the center of the village doesn’t necessarily match up out there.”
“As the mayor said this request is not inconsistent with what has been granted out there,” Danehy said. Danehy said the “one-size fits all sign code” doesn’t seem to work for that particular business district, and suggested perhaps making that area of the village a specific district under the village code review.
Village Trustee Carol Pynchon confirmed that the stretch of East Main headed out of town, which features hotels, grocery stores, gas stations, businesses and drive-through restaurants, is being looked at in the village’s planned code review and revisement for a possible individual zone in the future.