Council rejects staff’s objection to Hyundai sign

Hyundai architect Tom Dishlevoy said the new sign will actually be an updated version of the old sign

Campbell River’s new Hyundai dealership agents were back before council Tuesday as city staff were recommending for a second time that council deny design plans.

This time around, staff didn’t agree with the size of the dealership’s new sign.

Chris Osborne, city planner, said the pylon sign the owner intends to erect adjacent to the Island Highway, at Meredith Road, is larger than the maximum size allowed under the city’s sign bylaw.

The owners applied for a variance to increase the size allowed, but Osborne said the size limit is there for a reason.

“The intent is to prevent overly-large signs, which generally become more unsightly the larger the area,” Osborne said.

He recommended council deny the application to allow Hyundai’s proposed eight feet wide by 21 feet tall sign.

“The sign would be located in a prominent location along the city’s main thoroughfare, clearly visible from the highway,” Osborne said. “No justification has been advanced for the need to have a sign that is 33 per cent larger than the maximum allowed other than it is convenient and desired by the applicant.”

But council disagreed with Osborne’s assessment after hearing from the Hyundai development team at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Hyundai architect Tom Dishlevoy said the new sign will actually be an updated version of the old sign at Hyundai’s existing location on Coulter Road. He also said that the sign is only eight feet wide on top and that it’s the base, the pylon, that is increasing the size of the sign and putting it out of compliance.

“Really it’s just the amount of the base that’s there that is sort of part of the argument tonight,” Dishlevoy said. “We certainly would be prepared to increase the size of the plantings around the base of the sign to five to six feet in height which would effectively screen that bottom component and leave the compliant area of the upper part of the sign to the view of the public.”

That seemed to please council, which voted in favour of granting Hyundai the variance to accommodate the larger size. Mayor-elect and Coun. Andy Adams suggested the Hyundai team keep an open dialogue with city staff.

“I would encourage the applicant to continue to work with staff to provide some additional landscaping opportunities,” Adams said.

Taking a suggestion from Osborne, council also directed city staff to review the city’s sign bylaw and report back to council and the city’s Advisory Planning and Environment Commission with recommendations. Tuesday’s incident was the second time city staff have denied Hyundai’s design plans.

In October, staff objected to Hyundai’s new corporate design plans after staff felt it differed too much from plans that had originally been approved months before. Staff specifically didn’t like the new plan to remove a vertical tower splitting the middle of the building and said the new design moved away from the city’s Official Community Plan guidelines.

Council, though, disagreed and approved the new branding and design.