City Commission Denies Palisadian-Post Signage Appeal

The Palisadian-Post’s appeal to place two large signs above the 881 Alma Real building was denied in a 4-1 vote by the West L.A. Area Planning Commission on July 20.

During a three-hour hearing, 14 Palisades residents urged commissioners to uphold the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board’s unanimous denial of the signage request in May 2015 and the subsequent City Planning denial.

The Post had requested that two large illuminated Palisadian-Post signs be placed on top of the building that houses Berkshire Hathaway, Fancy Feet Dance Studio, Gerry Blanck’s Martial Arts, Groza Learning Center and ATAM, as well as several doctor and dentist offices.

This proposed sign on the 881 Alma Real was denied.

This proposed sign on the 881 Alma Real was denied.

Attorney Jack Rubens (Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton), representing the Post, had asked for approval for a sign above the entrance of the building (owned by Eri S. Kroh), and a second sign on the north corner of the building.

The application stated that “the building signs are modest and would recognize and reflect the important role that the Palisadian-Post has played in the history of the Pacific Palisades community and provide community-themed name recognition for the building.”

The application explained that the proposed signs were within the applicable building frontage (151.8 linear feet) and that the signs did not exceed the total sign area of 171.8 sq. ft. The applicant said the allowable sign area would be 187 sq.ft., which the DRB board said was incorrectly figured, because they had failed to take into account the Berkshire Hathaway and the Palisades Village Center signs.

DRB members noted that the requested signage represented a commercial logo/sign for a tenant that occupied a second-floor office (about 2,600 sq. ft. of an 89,000-sq.-ft. building). DRB members also calculated the gross area of the signs as: 27 feet long x 51 inches high=114.75 sq.-ft. for each sign x 2 = 229.5 sq. ft. total area, which would exceed the allotted area.

In addition, the DRB argued that because the 881 Alma Real building does not sit on the corner, the business district’s Specific Plan prohibited a second sign on the north side.

The application was denied and then sent to the Department of City Planning for a final decision. The DRB noted that the application “does not comply with the intent of the Pacific Palisades Specific Plan Signage Guidelines and is in conflict with the character of the Palisades community as cited in Specific Plan Sections: 2 B, C, D & F; Section 5A; Section 13.B 3 and 4.”

— SUE PASCOE

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