LAKEWOOD Officials for the new Olive Garden Restaurant in Lakewood would like more signs than village zoning laws allow.
On Thursday, the Lakewood Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the proposal to grant Olive Garden the use of five signs instead of the two signs allowed by municipal law. According to information submitted by Site Enhancement Services Inc. of South Bend, Ind., Olive Garden officials would like three additional wall signs. Michael Grabarek, Site Enhancement Services employee, submitted a letter to Charles Smith, Lakewood building inspector, on June 21 detailing why the additional signs are needed.
''The reason for this request is to allow visibility to motorist navigating to this location as well as through the surrounding corridor,'' Grabarek states.
Olive Garden officials, which is owned by Darden Restaurants, would like five signs four located on the building and a fifth not attached to the restaurant, but along East Fairmount Avenue. Grabarek said the sign package is consistent with all new Olive Garden locations and has been approved by Simon Properties, the operators of the Chautauqua Mall and neighbor to the new restaurant.
''While the number of signs exceeds what is allowed by code, the (square footage) of signage at this property is far less than what is allowed by code,'' Grabarek states. ''Olive Garden is not requesting excessive signage, just what is necessary to identify the property and provide quality way finding devices for motorist traveling through this corridor.''
Grabarek states in the letter that if the request for more signs is denied, motorists will make improper traffic decisions resulting in confused and frustrated individuals.
''Restaurants are typically impulse locations that need to be readily identifiable to those not from the immediate area in order to prevent taxable dollars from leaving the community,'' he states. ''Studies show that 10 percent of the population is in transition, which means they are either moving in, moving out or through the area. This is why the signage is not only important to this location, but also provides the necessary means to properly guide traffic to and from desired destinations.''
The new restaurant will be located on 2.49 acres of land in the former location of the Firestone Auto Center near the Chautauqua Mall.