In a 4-1 vote, Flower Mound Planning and Zoning commissioners tabled action on proposed signage plans for Lakeside DFW, a 156-acre mixed-use development off Long Prairie Road.
Commissioner Don McDaniel sought a motion to table action Monday evening after several on the P&Z commision questioned the lack of definition in the number and types of signs allowed for businesses facing Long Prairie Road and Lakeside Parkway.
“The way this is written, it could conceivably look like the State Fair of Texas,” McDaniel said. “It seems like it could get out of hand without some kind of restraint.”
The concern, said Claudio Forest, who chairs the commission, is that if the ownership changes down the line and the signage is not regulated, businesses “could go crazy. … I just think there needs to be a little more thought.”
The proposal offered a smorgasboard of signage ranging from monument signs surrounded with landscape and listing only two businesses on each one to signage for awnings, blade signs on buildings, window signs and sandwich board signs among other styles.
The plan was to seek approval for a wider selection of signage for the development with the idea that a subcommittee of the Lakeside DFW Business Association would review each sign request, similar in governance to the way homeowners’ associations work.
James Archie, managing director of Realty Capital Management, LLC, which is developing the project, said the idea was to create a “fun, festive environment.
“We don’t want all of the businesses to look alike,” he said, adding that the company wants each business to create its own look and feel.
In a visual presentation, Archie showed commissioners signs on businesses in Dallas and at other upscale projects featuring an assortment of styles, including some with neon lettering.
Doug Powell, executive director of development services for the town, told commissioners Lakeside DFW, as a unique development, was proposing some of the same signage currently allowed in Parker Square as well as other similar developments.
“The applicant has said they’re not going to slap up a bunch of signs,” he said. “They want to have that palette, if you will, that would make it look nice.”
Powell told comissioners that staff, by federal law, cannot legislate or dictate architectural style. At some point, he said, “you have to take a leap of faith.”
Archie asked commissioners to go ahead with approval because several business owners would be seeking sign permits within the next few weeks to open their businesses.
“We have some business trying to file sign permits,” he said. “We have businesses who don’t know what the regulations are right now.”
Forest said he agreed with fellow commissioner David Johnson, vice chair, about trying to work within the developer’s timeframe for getting businesses open and suggested working on reconfiguring the proposed sign plans on Wednesday from scratch.
McDaniel and Itamar Gelbman, who serves as an alternate on the commission, both said they didn’t believe it was something commissioners were qualified to do.
“I hate that they’re in this position but I don’t think we’re qualified to do this,” McDaniel said, adding he believed the applicant could work with town staff to create a mock-up of several businesses with the maximum amount of signage that would be allowed to give commissioners a sense of what it would look like. “That would be very helpful,” he said.
During a public hearing, Glenn Olsen, owner of Bottle & Bottega, asked the commission to consider allowing signage at the back of the building where parking would be allowed. “I’d like to see some kind of approval for signage on the back side,” he said.
Olsen told commissioners, when asked, that he expects it will take about four to six weeks before he would receive a certificate of occupancy for his business at 2401 Lakeside Parkway.