Planning Commission grants sign variance

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The developers of the PrairieStar subdivision presented a request for permanent identification signage for the development at the March 26 Planning Commission meeting.

PrairieStar is located east of Larimer County Road 17, with the main entrance to phase one of the property, Wagon Bend Road, approximately .4 miles north of the Highway 287 bypass.

The staff report regarding the issue states, “PrairieStar is a190 acre Planned Unit Development (PUD) with a mix of residential unit types and densities and a (proposed) commercial area near the 287 bypass. A total of 854 housing units are approved for the development.”

According to information provided in the staff report, since the project was initially approved as a PUD, the sign provisions of the 1995 development code are what the town must use in reviewing the request. The 1995 code limits the size of monument signage of the type found at the entrance of a development to 20 square feet.

According to the report, the proposed sign is 49 square feet and will be “mounted on a red brick entry wall, framed by two stucco columns with concrete caps, at the northeast corner of the intersection.”

The height of the entry wall is six feet with lettering centered on the wall. A matching brick wall will be constructed at the southeast corner of the intersection that will be three feet tall and anchored by a nine foot tall stucco column with the “PrairieStar” logo.

The developers, Scott Sarbaugh and Richard McCabe were present and available for comments and to answer questions. Sarbaugh gave a brief presentation before the commission.

Sherry Albertson-Clark, in her role as town planner, summarized the position of town staff by stating that a 20-square-foot entryway sign was insufficient for a property of this size and staff supported the developer’s request for a variance to allow a sign of 49 square feet.

There were few questions or comments from the commissioners and a motion was made to grant the proposed variance with the following findings:

  • Strict enforcement of the sign code would create a situation which would result in unreasonable application of the standards.
  • Granting the requested variance will not be a detriment to the neighborhood or the public good, nor will it impair the intent or purpose of the code.
  • There are exceptional circumstances applying to the specific property which do not generally apply to the remaining property in the same zoning area or neighborhood.
  • The variance would not authorize any use other than the uses permitted in the zoning district.
  • The condition requiring the variance is not due to a self-inflicted hardship.

The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

During staff reports Albertson-Clark mentioned the PrairieStar developers had indicated to her that 35 lots from their development would be permit ready by the end of May. She reported 25 permits for single family residences had been issued so far this year and she estimated another 15 to 20 applications are being worked on by planning staff.