By Beth Dodd:
At the November 19 special meeting of the Woodland Park DDA, the board agreed to recommend that the Woodland Station sign rules be changed. This paves the way for larger signage for large buildings like the new Woodland Hardware and a proposed hotel. The owners of Woodland Hardware, the first new building in Woodland Station, had submitted a request for a signage rule change back on November 5, but the request was tabled until the DDA could explore the details of the recommended changes.
The Woodland Station area, once the location of the Woodland Park Saddle Club, is contained by U.S. Hwy 24 on the north, Columbine Ave to the south, West Street on the west, and Fairview Street on the east. Future business signs there were to be governed by the Woodland Station Overlay District rather than the general Woodland Park Sign Code. The Overlay District was created back in 2007 during the first aborted attempt to develop the site, before the adoption of the city’s new, painstakingly developed sign rules in April of 2010. It is not unusual for a large planned development like this to have its own rules in order to achieve a cohesive design.
At the Nov. 5 DDA meeting the owners of Woodland Hardware, Kelly and Gene Rodarmel, had requested an adjustment to the rules of the Overlay District. Their request would allow for approximately 25 % larger signage on their building than the rules previously permitted. The size increase would be in proportion to the size of their new building, which is bigger than anything anticipated in the original plans for little boutique shops in the Woodland Station Overlay District.
According to Woodland Hardware owner Kelly Rodarmel, whose store is currently located in leased space in the lower level of Gold Hill Square South , the original Woodland Station Overlay District sign code says a lot about what is not allowed, but is not specific about what is allowed. The new building needs identification in the public eye, and the signs must be big enough to be seen. The front of the building is visible from West Street , but has no visual presence on U.S. Hwy 24.
At the November 19 DDA special meeting, the group agreed to recommend to the Woodland Park city council that they approve changing the Woodland Station sign rules. Woodland Station would follow the general 2010 Woodland Park sign rules with a dozen exceptions. The list of changes was made with the input and support of Woodland Park ’s Planning Commission.
The proposed rule exceptions to the Woodland Station Overlay District would permit the construction of a monument sign for Woodland Station at Center Street and U.S. Hwy 24. The monument sign would be a large freestanding low profile sign to identify the whole area rather than an individual business. Backlit or internally lit signs, rooftop signs, poster frame signs, and manual changeable copy signs would not be permitted.
What would be allowed under the proposed rules are non-permanent window signs up to 25% of the window size. Banners for special events like grand openings would be allowed for up to two weeks of the year, and sidewalk signs less than 6 ft sq would be permitted. Indirectly lit signs with shepherd’s hook lighting would be acceptable. Commercial flags would be restricted, but one central location for the national and state government flags was suggested.
“What we are trying to avoid is a garish strip mall look like Bedford Falls without Jimmy Stewart,” declared DDA member Tom Carrick.
The rules change would also require that all future Woodland Station sign permits be reviewed by the DDA’s Design Review Committee. Now that the DDA has recommended making changes to the overlay district, the changes will still have to be approved by the Woodland Park City Council.