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City Balks at Electronic Sign Request

Kaleidoscope wanted big electronic signs overlooking the freeway, but the City Council indicated they would not support the idea.

Large electronic signs affixed to the walls of the and LED display ads received criticism from the city council Monday night. The council asked staff to look for ways to beautify the center without creating a special sign district.

Staff will also draw up plans with the possible sign district included, per a motion made by Councilmember .

The Kaleidoscope's representatives asked the council to consider a new sign district over the former community redevelopment area.

Several members of the public rejected the idea of large electronic signs, three of which would be visible from the I-5.

“We don’t need this kind of signage to pollute and clutter our city," Mission Viejo resident Dale Tyler said. "Mission Viejo must not become another Commerce.”

Jim Leach, CEO of the , saw the proposed signs differently. He called the Kaleidoscope sign project "a forward-looking project that will further enhance a significant property in the city… and give the city one more asset to be proud of."

Kelley said the council will reject large digital signs.

"We’re not going to go for all kinds of digital signage, but maybe there are things we can do to help your center, to help to beautify the project,” she said.

Colby Durnin, representing the Kaleidoscope, said the center's new building plan would remove some of the static signs currently standing in favor of the new electronic signs.

The big improvements are necessary because the center "has had trouble over the years attracting tenants and shoppers," said Reed Royalty, president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association.

Councilmember said she was concerned the city would lose control of the signs once they were built. She said creating a new sign district would be "harmful to those businesses outside of the district—it’s not a level playing field.”

Mayor said the city council was not interested in the current proposal.

Councilmember said he's received a lot of concerned emails from the public regarding the sign proposal.

"I haven’t seen the kinds of emails that are against this project in a long time," he said. "These aren’t just boilerplate emails. These are residents saying, ‘Whoa, let’s look at this.”

Leckness said Mission Viejo was the first city to reject Kentucky Fried Chicken's rotating bucket of chicken ad display and the first to reject the McDonald's golden arches display.

"We have a history as a city with tight rules,” he said.

The motion to ask city staff to return to the council with alternative proposals passed 3-2, with Councilmembers and Schlicht dissenting.

LAMAR KELSOE July 15, 2012 at 07:11 PM
PUTTING MORE LARGE SIGNS ON THE KALEIDOSCOPE IS LIKE TRYING TO CURE CANCER WITH A BAND AID. AS SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN IN THE RETAIL BUSINESS FOR MOST OF MY LIFE, I CAN TELL YOU FROM PAST EXPERIENCE THAT THAT LOCATION WAS A POOR LOCATION FOR A RETAIL OPERATION. LOTS OF REASONS AND ONE IS NOT ENOUGH PARKING PLACES. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER SUITED FOR AN OFFICE COMPLEX. MY EXPERIENCE TELLS ME THAT LOCATION WILL NEVER BE A SUCCESSFUL RETAIL CENTER NO MATTER HOW MANY SIGNS YOU PUT UP. THE BEST WAY TO FIX THE PROBLEM IS TO REMODEL IT AND MAKE IT AN OFFICE BUILDING.
LAMAR KELSOE July 15, 2012 at 07:12 PM
SEE THE ABOVE STATEMENT

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