EDMOND — Sam's Club got its sign variance, but the sign isn't nearly as big as first sought.
Sam's officials originally asked for a 500-square-foot sign that would be 70 feet from the ground. The sign, to be installed along Interstate 35, had been reduced to 150 square feet on each side and 50 feet from the ground by the time the city council approved it this week.
Plans call for a 138,000-square-foot membership store and fuel station on 15 acres in the southwest corner of Fox Lake Plaza, north of 15th Street and I-35.
The sign approved is the same size as the one at the Walmart Supercenter to the south.
City code allows a 25-foot-tall that is 60 square feet because the Sam's property only has a 90-foot frontage.
That is the reason a variance from the city code was necessary in order to use a larger sign.
Nearby neighbors in Fox Lake housing addition did not like the larger sign. Some did not want to walk into their backyards and see the sign.
Robert Hamm, 848 Fox Ridge Dr., said 15 houses would be able to see the sign.
“The variance has no merit,” said Ingrid Young, also of 848 Fox Ridge Dr. “I don't know anyone who does impulse shopping at Sam's.”
Mayor Charles Lamb said he did some homework and found that a 1994 ordinance allowed buildings 60,000 square feet and larger to have a sign with 172.5 square feet on each side. He said he found a 1987 ordinance that allowed signs to be higher if there was a larger setback.
“Another consideration is the speed of the traffic,” Lamb said. “I have heard many say Sam's in Edmond will bring sales tax. This is a tough one to address.”
Wayne Nice, attorney for Sam's, requested the final reduction in the sign making it 50-foot-tall and 150-square-foot on each side with a 20 foot set back.
Nice called the sign requirement unfair because Sam's owns 15 acres.
Council members unanimously approved the sign variance. Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner was absent from the meeting.