The Meridian Township Zoning Board of Appeals approved unanimously on Feb. 24, 2021 a variance request made by Johnson Sign Company to install a second wall sign at 2076 Towner Rd.
Jim Johnson from Johnson Sign Company spoke to the board at the meeting, representing his tenant, Great Lakes Office Furniture, and gave justification for the request. Johnson said his client feels it would be in the public interest to add a sign on the north side of the building, as both clients that also includes Retractable Solutions Inc. and delivery drivers traveling west on Saginaw Highway often have difficulty finding his client’s business.
“He has even had neighbors reaching out saying that clients are asking for directions to his building because they can not find it,” said Johnson.
The board briefly discussed the unique shape and position of 2076 Towner Rd., ultimately deciding it is a corner lot and with a unique position on the highway, this causes it to not be as visible from the road for travelers headed westbound.
The Meridian Township Zoning Board considers eight different criteria when evaluating a new sign on a building. A few of the criteria include the position of the building on the road, how many tenants are in the building, and if the tenant is able to efficiently use their space for the proposed purpose.
One criterion that was brought up by the business owners was the fifth criterion “granting this variance is a minimum action that will help make possible the use of this building in a manner which is not contrary to the public interest. It would secure public safety because it would help those traveling west on E. Saginaw to identify their business safely and properly.”
In response to this, Planning Commission Representative Scott Hendrickson said, “I think this has been illuminating in this case, people are unable to find the building, they are having to bother other businesses and residents, there clearly is an issue with being able to identify this business.
The eighth and final criteria that must be met is “the granting of the variance will be generally consistent with the public interest and the purposes and intent of this chapter because the sign its self meets the size requirements of the ordinance and is in line with the types of signs that allowed.”
After reading this final criterion, VBA Chair Alexia Mansour said, “I would definitely agree with that I think this is within the public interest and within the intent of this chapter.”
Vice-Chair Monique Field-Foster also gave her thoughts after the readings of the criteria, saying she believes the company is ultimately losing business and therefore it makes sense to give them another sign.
For full audio of her explanation, click the link below.