City approves sign request for gas station, convenience store

Photo provided An artist’s rendition of signage requested for a new convenience store and gas station.

Columbus officials have approved allowing a local gas station and convenience store to add an additional sign.

Columbus Food Mart, 1105 Washington St., asked the commission for a modification to the zoning ordinance and amendment to their previously approved site plan to allow two extra signs on the northern and southern side of the property.

Commissioners found that just one extra sign would be appropriate. Votes on the amendment and modification were both 9-1 with commissioner Barry Kastner voting against.

Columbus Food Mart is currently under construction and will include a 3,194 square foot convenience store, a 1,192 square foot tenant space and six gas pumps. The tenant space has been approved as a smoke shop.

Per the zoning ordinance, the food mart portion is allowed two signs and the smoke shop is allowed four signs. The smoke shop is allowed two additional signs because it has two frontages on Washington and 11th streets, whereas the food mart just has one, the planning department’s Melissa Begley told the commission.

The applicant wanted to add an 18-square foot sign on both sides of the food mart that say “coffee, snacks, take it go!”

During public comment, Michael Cartwright, who lives on Franklin St., said the southern facade on 11th Street is in direct line of his porch and asked that only one additional sign be permitted on the north facade.

“There are entrances from 11th Street to the businesses and the signage there is already bold enough for what we have,” Cartwright told the commission. “I think it will actually contribute to a tackier appearance if you allow more signage there.”

Councilman Tom Dell, D-at-large, said he thought the signage already on the building is adequate and asked the request be declined.

The recommendation by planning staff was that one extra sign be allowed on the north side of the building, with the condition that the total signage be capped at its current square footage, which was included in the final motions.

Mistie Nigh works for ASA Above the Rest LLC, who was hired to permit and install the signs, and was at the meeting on behalf of Columbus Food Mart.

“From a sign company point of view, I absolutely disagree,” Nigh said. “A building, a store, anything without a sign is not a building. So I would absolutely take the stand that the more signage that lets people know something, anything about the store, what’s in it, what we’re containing — that is what I believe every store should have.”

Commissioner Evan Kleinhenz said part of the reason the structure was brought up to the property line on 11th street was to isolate the busy portion of the north side entrance from the residents living to the south.