Planning commission OKs higher sign for Walmart

The Princeton City Planning Commission has approved a higher Walmart sign than the one that was put up late this year in anticipation of the store opening early next year.

The commission took that action and more during its regular meeting December 17…

Rob Olson, with the metro-based engineering, planning and development firm MFRA, asked the planning commission to approve a new and higher pylon sign for Walmart to replace the 20-foot high, 4’ 9” x 20’ sign that is on the Walmart store property now. The site is in the southwest quadrant of the interchange of Highways 95 and 169, and near the city’s off-sale liquor store that has a 45 foot high pylon sign.

The planning commission approved Olson’s request to replace the current sign with one that will be up to 60 feet high and would be 138 sq. ft., which fits within the zoning ordinance’s maximum allowed of 150 sq. ft. The current Walmart sign is 95 sq. ft.

Mary Lou DeWitt, community development assistant to the planning commission, noted in a memo that Walmart has been waiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to put up a pylon sign (because of its proximity to the Princeton airport) that reaches 60 feet high. Since the FAA has not yet given the approval, Walmart was asking that the city give the OK to have a sign ranging in height from 39-60 feet.


Public safety building action

The commission also approved a site plan for the planned public safety building for which the city has ordered plans and specifications. The site is in the south end of the city’s Aero Business Park, located south of First Street along 21st Street on the city’s west side.

During discussion on the site plan review, commission member Dick Dobson suggested that the committee working on the project consider reversing where the police and fire departments would be located on the lot. The present site plan has the police department being on the end of the building that would be facing south and the fire department would be on the north.

The plan calls for a 260’x92’ building with an area of 23,920 sq. ft. An alternate addition is being looked at that would be 15 feet wide and be attached to the north end of the building, in lieu of building a stand-alone garage to house utility trailers.


Auto sales conditional use permits

Zoning Administrator Carie Fuhrman asked the commission for clarification on whether it wants to require new businesses with automobile sales to have their lots be hard surfaced. She also wanted clarification on whether existing auto sales businesses that want to expand have to make sure their lots have hard surfaces right away or if those businesses would be given a time period to pave the lots.

At Dobson’s recommendation, Fuhrman will be working on a proposed ordinance revision which, if approved, would require any opening auto sales business to get a hard surface project started as soon as a hot asphalt plant is in operation.

Right now, the ordinance requires that all car sales businesses have a hard-surface lot, but it wouldn’t be practical to be done right away if a car sales business opened in the winter season, Dobson said. A public hearing would be required to move the ordinance along.