LAKEWOOD - If it takes five signs to be noticed, the Olive Garden will be very popular once it opens this fall.
On Thursday, the Lakewood Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance to allow Olive Garden to have additional signs. The village's zoning states each business is allowed two signs, but needs to be approved for a variance if it wants additional markers. Olive Garden officials asked for five signs, four on the building and a monument one by the highway.
Michael Grabarek, Site Enhancement Services employee, told the board, even with the additional signs, the total square footage for all five signs is below what would be required for just two signs. The total square footage of each sign is 193 square feet.
Louis S. Drago Jr., board member, said the number of signs is similar to other restaurants along Fairmount Avenue. William Chandler, board chairman, said Red Lobster and Ruby Tuesday both have four signs and were given variances too.
''(The board) has given a lot of variances,'' he said.
In a letter to Charles Smith, Lakewood building inspector, prior to the meeting, Grabarek detailed 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 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 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. 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.