With the impending move of PetSmart into the Northampton Crossings shopping center, the size of signage became a minor hurdle that the company cleared Tuesday night.
Representatives for the pet supplies and accessories store approached the Lower Nazareth Zoning Hearing Board for a variance on a 25-foot-tall sign along Route 248.
Speaking on behalf of store owners Gemstone Resources L.P. and Wallingford One Holdings L.P. were Jerrold Bermingham, executive vice president for National Realty and Development Corp., and Richard Crawford, president of Mercer Sign Consultants.
The variance, Crawford explained, would allow for an additional 3 feet by 10 feet to the bottom of the store's sign, which would advertise the addition of PetSmart to the shopping center. Currently, the signpost along 248 advertises several big retail stores in the shopping complex, such as Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and Sam’s Club.
Bermingham noted that because PetSmart is renovating a storefront near Sam’s Club -- where the $1 Power used to be -- there is concern about the considerable distance between the store and the main road.
PetSmart, he said, is a destination spot for people who need to buy supplies for their pet or want to adopt a pet.
“It’s not an impulse buy,” Bermingham said. “People need to be directed there.”
Crawford said PetSmart’s location will be hundreds of yards away from the road, back in the corner across from Regal Cinema 14. In addition to the distance, a hillside between the road and the store's area puts a physical barrier between motorists and some of the storefronts.
“You can’t physically see the front of the building,” he said.
Bermingham said adding the sign to the bottom of the current signpost at Route 248 is “the least objectionable and the most reasonable option. And it doesn’t make the sign any larger.”
Crawford said the height of the sign will remain 25 feet tall. In fact, the footprint of the sign isn’t changing at all, he said. The only change is under the sign.
Zoning board member Zachariah Cobrinik asked Crawford if he has looked into the effects of high winds.
“We don’t want that sign to get blown away,” Cobrinik said. “It’s only attached at the top.”
The design Crawford showed the board had the sign anchored at the top, but it was not long enough to attach to the uprights.
“The sign has more rigidity than you think," Crawford said, adding that it will have an angled iron frame inside.
Lori Seese, the township's zoning administrator, added that signage permits are conditional on the certification of an engineer that it can withstand 90 mph winds.
Michael Gable, vice chairman of the board, said, “They’re not going up. They’re actually going down, so I don’t have any exception to it.”
The board voted to conditionally approve the variance, which will allow for the addition of 30 square feet to the sign -- for a total of 234 square feet.