Commission Defers Bank Signs

The Gaithersburg Planning Commission deferred an application for a revised sign package for Capital One Bank at its meeting on July 28 after a Kentlands resident called for a public hearing.

Initially, the item was on the commission’s consent agenda and city staff was recommending approval of the signs that would replace the Chevy Chase Bank signs at 317 Kentlands Boulevard.

Shortly before the meeting, Kentlands resident Richard Arkin said he was concerned about the replacement signage.

“I am making this request because I believe that there are substantive issues of fact and law that have not been adequately or properly addressed in the staff report and that should be addressed in an open and public Planning Commission meeting,” Arkin wrote in an e-mail sent to City Hall.

One issue that concerns Arkin is the “substantial increase in square footage for the new sign package.”

In her staff report, Gaithersburg Planner Jacqueline Marsh said “the perceived increase in square footage for the signage is a result of the tenant logo being affixed to a dark blue background, which counts as part of the building sign.”

Recommending approval, she concluded “the signs will continue to identify the bank in an unobtrusive manner.”

Arkin disagrees, noting that “no other sign in the shopping center has a contrasting background as proposed in this application.”

“I believe that the proposed sign should be redesigned after a full and open public hearing at which testimony can be heard or submitted in writing,” he said.

Gaithersburg Planning and Code Administration Director Greg Ossont said a deferral would allow staff the time to research the issue and report back to the city’s planning commission.

At press time, the signage issue was included on the August 11 agenda.