Forrest Owens, the planning director for the City of Germantown, TN, has contacted MacCentral with reaction to our Aug. 4 article in which we reported that the upcoming Apple retail store in Germantown had hit some snags because the town’s sign ordinance doesn’t allow food items on signs or internal illumination of signs.
“The Germantown Sign Ordinance not only prohibits logos consisting of food but also logos consisting of humans and of animals,” Owens told MacCentral. “The intent, although I am speculating here because the ordinance was enacted over 20 years ago, is to keep the City of Germantown from having a large amount of garish or inappropriate logos on signs throughout the City. If you visit the City of Germantown you will find that we are a municipality that prides itself on aesthetics and this has been aided, in large part, by a strict adherence to the sign ordinance.”
He pointed out that, contrary to just about all articles on the matter, the Design Review Commission (DRC) was willing to grant a variance to allow the “Apple” logo. The commission simply requested that the logos be brought into compliance with the size requirements that the City places upon logos. The representatives for Apple who were present at the meeting indicated that they would discuss the size issue with the company and report back at this month’s DRC meeting, Owens said.
Concerning the issue of internal illumination, it is true the any type of internal illumination for signage (where a sign face is translucent so the light can shine through) is prohibited within the City of Germantown, he added. However, Germantown does allow many other types of sign illumination, including backlighting with reverse channel letters, ground mounted lighting, and gooseneck lighting.
“Again, I feel that adherence to this Code has kept the City looking neat without sacrificing the primary purpose of signage which is for information,” Owens said. “We have many national companies who exist happily in Germantown with modified signs and storefronts. McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Exxon and Target are just a few that come to mind. When all companies are required to play by the rules it creates a level playing field in which everyone can prosper without detracting from the aesthetics of a municipality.”
The planning director concluded by saying that Germantown was “very excited about the opening of the Apple store” and feel it will be a welcome addition to their city.” And when it opens, MacCentral will be on hand to cover it.