EDMOND — Representatives of Sam's Club had to back off their request for a 500-square-foot sign that would rise 70 feet above the ground before planning commissioners this week recommended a variance from the sign code.
Wayne Nice, attorney for Sam's, kept chopping away at the size of the sign that will be installed along Interstate 35 before planning commissioners unanimously approved a variance. The variance allows a sign that will be 300 square feet and 60 feet from the ground. The sign will have 150 square feet on each side, the same size sign as across the interstate at Integris Health Edmond and Mercy Health System medical complex, south of 15th Street and I-35.
City council members will make a final decision on the sign variance Oct. 8.
Sam's is proposing to build a 138,000-square-foot membership store and fuel station just north of the Walmart Supercenter at 15th Street and the interstate.
At least two planning commissioners said they would have approved a 360-square-foot sign, 60 feet from the ground.
Chairman Barry Moore said he couldn't understand why a membership club store would need a larger sign than a medical facility that people are trying to find in life-or-death situations.
Nice called the code unfair if Sam's owns 15 acres. “Strict application to the code is unfair,” Nice said.
Larry Craighead, Sam's architect and consultant, said, “This is an unusual circumstance for Sam's. Sixty feet is not appropriate.
“We hope to come to a solution so people will be able to identify the store and be sensitive to the ordinance.”
Neighbors in Fox Lake housing addition didn't like the 500-square-foot sign.
“We feel that is outrageous,” said Deborah Reisweber, a homeowners' association board member. “We have lived there for 10 years, and it has been a mess for eight years. There are 208 families to take into account.”
After the vote for the smaller sign, Reisweber said, “The height is still there.”
The variance was necessary because Sam's would own a 90-foot frontage along the interstate. City Planner Bob Schiermeyer said the code only allow a 25-foot-tall sign that is 60 square feet.