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New look of Boca could mean your favorite brand signs in color

Did you see that Starbucks or Publix brand sign driving by? Probably not in Boca, but that may change.

The city’s stringent Community Appearance Board, called the CAB, just signed off on the first revision of Boca’s sign ordinance in years. It’s backed by Investments Limited, the city’s largest commercial property owner.

Now it goes before city council in the fall.

“The code they have is antiquated. It has evolved a little bit over time. But it’s very out of date, out of touch,” said Boca Raton architect Douglas Mummaw.

Mummaw is Investments Limited’s architect. He and their sign guy Glen Welden worked on revisions for more than a year.

After honing the final changes with city development director Brandon Schaad, the CAB approved the new proposed ordinance Tuesday. The new code would cover commercial and multi-tenant buildings and properties.

“We are asking that every multi-tenant retail center have a master sign plan,” CAB chairman Mark Jacobsen told Boca Voice.

“This would allow us not to have to review every in-line retail tenant sign as they change.”

“We will continue to review some signage. There is the ability for a tenant to do an architectural sign, meaning a higher quality and design, in order for them to get an increased size.”

The CAB, all volunteer professionals, is the only city board that meets weekly. Most of their agendas are individual sign approvals now.

“This will allow CAB to focus on the more important esthetic and design issues for new or redeveloped projects in the city,” Jacobsen said. “This will help give clear direction to new tenants about signage and make the process of getting a sign quicker and easier.”

Investments Limited’s Armen Batmasian is on board with the proposed changes as well. “I think it’s great for all the business owners so they can have their brand identity,” he told Boca Voice. “Signage is most important. Black doesn’t get drive-by notice.”

Most brands have colorful logos that aren’t visible in a standardized color required now.

“Tenants want their logo,” Mummaw added. “So, we ended up appealing several signs and went before city council on two different occasions. We’re not the only ones fighting for color graphics,” he added. “Imagine Dunkin Donuts in brown letters. Even if they’re local brands like Tucker Duke, it’s better for the community because they can see all the stores they patronize. At 40 mph. you would have to be stopped to read it.”

So how will the city avoid sign pollution if this passes?

“They’re not just thrown on the building. They’re spaced evenly and they’re aligned horizontally and put on the building in locations where it works,” Mummaw said. “It’s integrated into the architecture composition. It’s appropriately sized. It’s not something that pollutes the environment, it enhances it.”

Will this change the way Boca looks?

“Most certainly,” Mummaw added. “It will elevate the aesthetic standards of signs throughout the community.”

The CAB hopes the measure will pass muster with city council.

“This has been a long time coming,” chairman Jacobsen said. “Several CAB chairmen ago and after many charrettes, the city started working to update their sign code. We look forward to the results.”

By Marci Shatzman

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