Wellington’s Architectural Review Board spent more than an hour on Wednesday, May 19 attempting to appease representatives of the new free-standing CVS Pharmacy at Wellington Town Square with appropriate signage options, so they didn’t have to go through the process again after an initial request was refused.
It was the latest chapter in the bizarre history of the project. While the store is now open and operating, it was delayed more than year due to a construction error.
The half-built building had to be razed and rebuilt after the original contractor didn’t follow permitting procedures and constructed a substandard building deemed dangerous by Wellington building officials.
After the delays, the store opened earlier this year. Now, came a request for additional signage.
The signage measure was straight forward enough. The building is situated on an outparcel such that the back faces Forest Hill Blvd. and the front faces Publix. As such, it is allowed two full-size signs on each end and a smaller-sized sign on the back, facing the street.
Jennifer Ronneburger of the firm GoPermit, speaking for CVS, asked that the building be allowed all three signs in the larger size, explaining repeatedly that the facility was a prototype store and has an architectural band on the building that is designed for the larger-size sign.
Further, she said, the building is hard to see, and the smaller sign wouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing. Currently, the blank wall makes the building look vacant, Ronneburger added, among a number of other reasons she gave to justify the third large sign.
The board discussed and reviewed each of the reasons.
The applicant knew about the sign issue from the start but hoped to receive a variance for the prohibited third sign. The motion for such a variance failed.
The balance of the time was spent trying to appease Ronneburger with other options, such as putting a larger sign on the back and the smaller sign on one end, so her firm didn’t have to apply for the signage again and could instead proceed after the night’s meeting.
“You guys are not going to be happy from a design perspective,” said Ronneburger of the decision.
Stating that she had worked with hundreds of boards across the country, Ronneburger seemed reticent to accept the decision of the board and continued to plead for the variance to allow three large signs.
“What we’re trying to do is let you come out with other choices,” Board Member Tom Wenham said. “We’re trying to work with you, but we have to enforce the code.”
In the end, the board reaffirmed village staff’s recommendation for two large signs and one smaller sign.
In other business, the board also followed staff’s recommendations with minor revisions and little discussion regarding the exterior elevations and signage for the new Chicken Salad Chick restaurant being placed in the renovated site of the former Boston Market building in front of the original Wellington Mall.
Heartland Dental at the former Mellow Mushroom site and K9 Resorts on Fairlane Farms Road also received unanimous site plan approvals.