Capitol Carpet Sign Request Concerns Wellington Architectural Board

Wellington’s Architectural Review Board met on Wednesday, Oct. 17 to discuss signage issues at several proposed commercial developments, as well as a trio of houses requesting paint colors not currently on the village’s approved color charts.

The Shoppes at Isla Verde on State Road 7 was the subject of two agenda items before the board. The first involved Capitol Carpet & Tile and Window Fashions that is currently in negotiations to move into the former Sports Authority site.

When the Sports Authority vacated its bay, it was redeveloped into three smaller bays, one of which will be taken by Sprouts, an organic grocery store. Capitol Carpet would occupy the 5,000-square-foot end bay, but only if their signage and modifications are approved.

Staff recommended a sign with a height of 37 inches, but Capitol Carpet requested a sign with a height of 51 inches — well larger than both the size recommended by village staff and the smaller 24-inch sign prescribed by the village code.

Lou Morano, president of Capitol Carpet, was on hand to plead his case. He argued that he needed a larger sign because he had expanded his company’s name to include “Window Fashions,” which meant he needed two lines of text.

“When we added ‘Window Fashions’ to our signs in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, window fashions became 20 percent of our business,” Morano said. “In our stores without the signage, it’s only five percent of our business.”

Morano went on to explain that because the location would be 525 feet back from SR 7 and behind the CVS Pharmacy, it would be difficult to see. “It’s a dead spot,” Morano explained. “It’s great that it’s next to Sprouts, and we’re relying on the people who go there to be able to read our sign.”

Further complicating the matter is the fact that the landlord does not currently have approval for a multi-tenant monument sign to advertise Capitol Carpet below Sprouts.

Board Vice Chair Tom Wenham introduced a motion to approve the staff recommendation of 37 inches, but Morano informed the board that such a sign would be too small and could potentially jeopardize the deal. The motion was defeated 6-1.

Morano also said he hoped to replace the exterior wall with glass to better showcase his store, but this would also require the approval of the board at a future meeting. However, the landlord stressed that negotiations are still on-going, and no deal is in place for the cost of that renovation.

Ultimately, the board concluded that they would need to see an architectural rendering of the revised glass storefront to fully comprehend the signage. The board voted to table the item with the hope Morano would return at the board meeting Wednesday, Nov. 28 with a revised rendering.

Morano informed the board that if he felt that he would not get the signage needed for his business, he was uncertain if he would pursue the project, given the considerable startup cost and investment.

In other business:

• The second property in Isla Verde with a signage request was Verizon. The company is in the process of rebranding itself from Verizon Wireless to simply Verizon. However, the checkmark following the text is now larger. Staff recommended a new sign height of 34 inches, but Verizon requested a text height of 34 inches and a larger checkmark. The board voted unanimously to approve the staff recommended 34-inch sign.

• The owner of Tub Tim Thai & Sushi is expanding in Wellington’s Village Green Center on the west side of SR 7 south of the Mall at Wellington Green. Forno Bravo, a new restaurant, would occupy the space previously occupied by Flakowitz. Among the features would be a living wall, which would be the third in Wellington, following two at the mall.

The issue before the board was the owner’s request to remove a faux window and replace it with a large circular sign. The board approved the request unanimously with the provision that the exterior color of the structure remain unchanged.

• The developer of lots 5, 6, 12 and 13 of the Binks Commercial Center was taken to task by the board for making changes without consulting the board.

“I’m not very happy you came after the fact,” Board Chair Ron Shamash said.

Among the changes the developer made were to the exterior and roof cover. The new paints were not on the approved color palette, but they were similar. Other changes included lowering of trusses, shorter dormers than were approved and omissions of mullions on the windows completely. Ultimately, the board approved the changes.

• A homeowner on Wiltshire Village Drive was on hand to defend her color choice of “oregano spice” after the board failed to reach a decision at last month’s meeting.

“I had never heard of this,” the homeowner said. “I have had the color three years.”

“It’s regrettable that homeowners don’t know they need to seek approval for a color,” Shamash said.

The reason the color was brought before the board was because a neighbor complained about the color and brought it to the village’s attention. The board approved the color 5-2 with Shamash and Wenham voting against approval.

“If we approve this, people can say, ‘You approved this — now you have to approve it for us,’” Wenham said, explaining that he did not want to set the precedent for approving a color that was met with mixed opinions from the board and staff.

• A second homeowner at Bedford Mews Drive fared better with the same color due to the different architecture of the house. The board approved allowing that homeowner to also keep the color “oregano spice.”

• The most contentious of the three housing discussions was for one on Guilford Circle, which had not yet been painted. The homeowner sought approval to paint the house “English holyoke.” While both staff and the board liked the color, the discussion turned contentious over a recommendation by staff that the homeowner add two trees to the landscaping.

The addition of trees was not required by code, but staff felt that the landscaping modification would enhance the property.

Board Member William Klein clashed with staff stating that the board did not have the authority to cover landscaping. “We are overstepping boundaries based on code,” Klein said.

Staff argued that the board did have the right to add landscaping instructions such as this. In fact, the board had done so when Sprouts was approved with instructions for additional landscaping to break up a large wall.

The board voted to approve the homeowner’s color request 6-1 with staff’s instruction to add two additional trees, with Klein dissenting.

After the meeting, Senior Planner Kelly Ferraiolo explained that the trees were not required by the code, but because the homeowner was seeking an unapproved color, village staff used the opportunity to address the overall appearance of the house.