Olive Garden requests more signage, F’ville Council says OK
The sign variance request by the Olive Garden restaurant under construction on Ga. Highway 85 North to install an additional sign was unanimously approved by Fayetteville City Council on Nov. 17. The original request was denied in October but was recommended for approval by city staff because the private access drive adjacent to the building essentially serves as a public street.
City Director of Public Services Don Easterbrook in a Nov. 4 memo said city staff is requesting reconsideration of the sign variance from Olive Garden.
“The variance was denied last month due to confusion about the access road and whether or not the lot has double frontage. Staff feels that although the adjacent drive is privately owned, it functions as a public street because it provides access to the businesses behind Olive Garden and to Fayette Pavilion. This situation is very similar to the recently approved Wendy’s sign variance, where credit was given for the Pavilion Parkway frontage although it is a privately owned street,” Easterbrook said.
The variance request is for one additional wall sign and for an increase in the total square footage of 22 square feet. Easterbrook said the city worked with the applicant on the sizes of the signs and have approved the installation of a 32 square-foot ground sign and a 45.4 square-foot wall sign facing Ga. Hwy. 85, which the ordinance allows. The request is for one additional 45.4 square-foot wall sign facing the adjacent side street on the south side of the building.
Easterbrook said this brings the total square footage to 122.8 square feet. The ordinance allows 101 square feet of total signage based on a single frontage lot, or 5 percent of the building facade. A double frontage lot would be allowed 152 square feet, or 7.5 percent of the building facade. The request is for approximately 20 percent additional square footage, which is in keeping with recent sign variances. Therefore staff recommends approval of the variance request for one additional 45.4 square foot wall sign, Easterbrook said.
The vote by the council was unanimous.
That was not the case in October when the request first came before the council. Councilman Paul Oddo made a motion at that meeting to approve the variance request. The motion received a second by Councilman Al Hovey-King. The motion was denied on a 2-3 vote with Oddo and Hovey-King in favor and councilmen Larry Dell, Wilson Price and Walt White opposed.
Wilson after the meeting said his vote in opposition was because the restaurant had only one street entrance with the other being a private access driveway within the development.
“We have to draw the line somewhere. It’s not a street,” Price said, adding that, “We’re going to re-evaluate it and look at it again. We’re doing all we can for most everybody we can.”
An intervening event also took place. Since Price’s “no” vote, he was swamped in his reelection effort by pastor Edward Johnson in the Nov. 8 election and Mayor Ken Steele was defeated in his reelection bid.