Zoning Board Approves Signage

A photo showing traffic with a conceptual sign placed into the photo to show that one of the new signs at Jones Memorial Health Center will not block traffic visibility at the intersection of Barrett Avenue and Baker Street. The Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals approved three variances for new signs at Jones Memorial Health Center and for five new signs at UPMC Chautauqua's Foote Avenue location. Submitted photo

New signs have been approved for UPMC Chautauqua’s two city locations even though it took a second attempt.

On Wednesday, the Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals approved five sign variances for UPMC’s Foote Avenue location and three sign variances for Jones Memorial Health Center. The variances were needed because of city zoning setback and height requirements.

In December, the variances for both UPMC Chautauqua locations were tabled because board members wanted to see photos or conceptual renderings showing how the signs would look at the intersections around both medical facilities.

On Wednesday, the petitioner Bartlett Signs of Fairview, Pa., who was represented by Michael Long, with John Lightner, UPMC sign planning design, and Cecil Miller, UPMC Chautauqua operations vice president, provided photos and conceptual renderings of the intersections that included the proposed signs.

Peter Larson, zoning board member, who requested the additional photos and conceptual renderings last month, said Wednesday that the additional information provided that included the schematic depictions of the intersection with the signs assisted him to better picture the scene.

Even though variances for the new signs for both medical facilities were approved, one member of the zoning board voted against the petitions. Jim Olson, zoning board member, didn’t vote against the petitions because he was against the variances, but questioned whether the legal notice included all necessary details. Olson, who retired from Jamestown city government as city clerk after 30 years of service in August 2017, said the legal notice should have also included the zoning information for the districts where both facilities are located. Both UPMC Chautauqua and Jones Memorial are located in R-C (multiple-family residential and professional office) zoned district. Olson said the setback and height requirements for the R-C district should have been included in the notice. The legal notice only included zoning code 300-0205, which deals with visibility at intersections for all districts in the city.

Marilyn Fiore-Lehman, city corporation counsel, was asked to provide her opinion on whether the legal notice included all necessary information about city zoning. She said that all parties that needed to be notified about the petitions for the variance request for the signs had been notified. She added, therefore, anyone who opposed or wanted more information about the petitions was notified about the proceedings.

At UPMC Chautauqua’s Foote Avenue location, two of the five signs will remain in their current location, but the signs will be larger. The sign at the intersection of Allen Street and Foote Avenue will be moved closer to the intersection. The sign in front of the hospital will be moved from one side of the flag pole to the other. The sign along Route 60 will be moved to the intersection of Prather Avenue. This sign variance also needed to include approval from the Chautauqua County Planning Board because it is a state road. In the letter county officials sent city officials, it stated the sign variance was an issue that should be decided by city officials.

At Jones Memorial, one sign near Barrett Avenue will be larger, 10 feet high, and will be illuminated. A second new sign that is not replacing an older one needed a variance because of its height being 7 feet, 9 inches, with the zoning requirement being 5 feet.

The third sign will be located along Barrett Avenue, closer to the Baker Street intersection. The sign will be located in a triangle area located on UPMC Chautauqua property. Local resident Harry Covert spoke out against this sign. He said it will cause problems because several drivers don’t stop at the intersection of Baker Street and Barrett Avenue. He asked if the sign could be moved more to the west and if it could be higher to open up the sight lines for drivers.

Long said he feels people might miss the entrance to Jones Memorial if the sign is not located in this triangle area. However, Lightner did say they could move the sign around two feet further west to widen the view for drivers. The board approved the variance with the amendment that the sign in the triangle will be moved further west.