Niles approves signs for Meijer, Pulp stores

NILES — The board of adjustment unanimously approved variances for signs for two businesses, including Meijer, at a meeting Tuesday morning.

The board approved an 8-foot-8-inch tall by 28-foot-9-inch wide sign for the back of the Meijer superstore, which is set to be built on the site of the old Super Kmart near the Eastwood Mall. The maximum size of letters allowed by code is 4-feet high, said Anthony J. Vigorito, Niles building inspector.

“It’s a larger sign,” said board chair Dan Titi. “I don’t have any problems with it. For older people who don’t see as well, I think a sign you could see better would be better.”

Four sign variances for the front of the superstore, which sits in Howland, were approved in January by the township’s zoning board. The rear of the nearly 160,000-square-foot store will sit about 150 feet into Niles.

Vigorito said the variance requests came to the board of adjustment because a Niles ordinance does not allow signage for the rear of a building that does not face a street.

James M. Shurell, senior development engineer at the Cafaro Company, who represented Meijer at the meeting, said the store wants the signage to provide visibility to eastbound traffic coming from Eastwood Mall.

The board also approved a round 5-foot sign for the side of Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar, set to open at 5655 Youngstown Warren Road. The store already has a sign for the front of the building, said Vigorito, but they needed approval from the board because the second sign will not face a street.

The board plans on meeting to review and potentially update the city’s sign ordinances, some of which, Vigorito said, have not been updated since the 1950s. Vigorito said signage issues not regulated by zoning fall to the board of adjustment.

Titi called the current ordinances “out of date.”

“Things are changing. We need to get up to the times,” he said.

Current ordinances do not account for electronic signs and provide a loose definition of temporary signs, said Vigorito. He also said the board might consider raising the maximum height for building signs to 5 feet to accommodate businesses that sit farther back from the road.

“We’re a business-friendly town,” said Vigorito. “We want businesses to have what they need as long as it doesn’t get too distracting.”