Wednesday, September 28, 2011

P&Z rejects visitor center sign

Proposal called for tall lettering on rooftop


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Designers of the new visitor center in Ketchum hoped to draw attention to the renovated building, but their proposed rooftop sign was a little too eye-catching for Ketchum's Planning & Zoning Commission.

"This is sort of a provocative proposal that either strikes people one way or another," Lisa Horowitz, Ketchum's community and economic development director, said at the Monday P&Z meeting. "Clearly, this sign is not a clear fit with our code."

Ketchum code prohibits rooftop signs, and the building with the proposed sign would exceed height restrictions. The city can grant waivers to both those items, but in this case the P&Z chose not to.

The sign, submitted by Ketchum-based architect Susan Desko, would have spelled out "Sun Valley" followed by the international symbol for information: an italic, lower-case "i."

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Changes being made to the building's exterior were deemed minor enough to be approved administratively. The unusual rooftop sign, however, which would rise 8 feet from the top of the 35-foot building, merited review by the commission.

Signs on government buildings are exempt from city code, but commissioners determined that the building did not serve a government function even though it is supported by city funds.

"We fund a lot of organizations," said Commissioner Rich Fabiano. "It's definitely a stretch to call it a civic building."

He added that he loved the creativity of the sign but not how nonconforming it was to code.

Ketchum resident Phyllis Shafran wondered why "Ketchum" was left off the sign, as the building is in the city's center.

"As a resort community, we're known globally as Sun Valley," said Greg Randolph, general manager of the Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce. "The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance is marketing the area as Sun Valley."

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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