Janesville79°

Sign approved for JPAC

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Ann Fiore
December 18, 2007
— By next spring, theatergoers won’t have to call the Janesville Performing Arts Center to find out performance dates for Janesville Little Theatre’s “Harvey.”

They’ll just have to check the sign.


After a public hearing Monday, the Janesville Plan Commission approved, 5-1, a permit for a 7-foot-tall monument-style sign with an electronic message center at JPAC, 408 S. Main St. Commission member Lori Hanewold was absent.


The sign had been part of JPAC’s original building plan, but it wasn’t installed three years ago because of budget constraints, said Duffy Dillon, secretary of JPAC’s board of directors.


In October, the city council amended the sign ordinance to allow monument-style signs downtown, where JPAC is located.


Sue Conley, treasurer of Theatre Unlimited, said groups that use the performing arts center need a better way to advertise performances.


“I think it’s a beautiful sign and fits in very nicely with the surrounding area,” Conley said.


But Leslie Curry, who lives across the street from JPAC, called the sign an eyesore that would mar the green space surrounding JPAC and the library.


“That sign will be a major focal point from our front porch,” said Curry, who was the only resident to speak at Monday’s public hearing.


She questioned how many residents were told about Monday’s meeting and asked the plan commission to postpone voting until after the holidays.


Mark Gregory, president of JPAC’s board, said the board researched different designs and held a Nov. 20 neighborhood meeting. Only one person attended the meeting, he said, and that person supported the sign.


City staff sent notices 12 days ago to property owners and tenants within 400 feet of the proposed sign, said Brad Cantrell, the city’s community development director.


Gregory said JPAC does not plan to lease the sign to other advertisers, something Curry feared would happen.


Commission member Nancy Zolidis opposed JPAC’s sign and another sign proposed for a new Walgreens at 2519 Kettering St.


Zolidis said she doesn’t like electronic message signs. The fact that JPAC’s sign would be located near homes also swayed her vote.


“I see a proliferation of signs, and no one seems to care what it will look like in the future,” she said. “…That’s not the vision I have for our community.”


Under conditions approved by city staff, the 16-square-foot electronic message center will display two message lines in red LED lights. The sign will be lighted from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and can be adjusted for brightness.


Can’t wait to find out about “Harvey”? The play about the 6½-foot-tall imaginary rabbit is scheduled for May 9-11 and May 16-18.



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