Store's Sign Called 'Bodacious Eyesore'

January 24, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

A video store sign that has riled Severna Park residents apparently will be moved, but not far enough to suit some neighbors.

The Blockbuster Video sign at the Robinson Road-Ritchie Highway intersectionhas been described as a "bodacious eyesore," and "an abomination" byneighbors. But it will be no less visible after the franchise owner moves it a few yards up the street, just outside a residential bufferzone, to comply with county zoning rules.

"We've located a place along Robinson Road, so we wouldn't be losing any visibility, that complies with the code," said Aletheia Zaremba, the California-based project manager for the video rental chain.

Zaremba faxed a letter to the county yesterday, agreeing to move the offending sign, the day the county's chief of land use enforcement, Richard Gauch, had promised to start fining the company $50 a day for the five different zoning violations.

"I would say if it stays on Robinson Road that makes no difference and it's a real slap in theface to the 9,000 members of this community who have very clearly voiced there's no need to have a sign like that on Robinson Road," saidThomas Magette, president of the North Severna Park Community Association. "Its an abomination and if it's still legal I'm going to look at other roads, whether it's commercial pressure or whatever, to get that sign off Robinson Road."

"This letter just opens the dialogue. They have to submit the plan, apply for a variance on another violation and eliminate the blinking flashing and fluttering lights in thewindow by Feb. 1," Gauch said.

"We'd just like this put to bed and get on with business," Zaremba said, noting that business has been going "very well" since the store opened Nov. 16, despite the controversy.

She said a local engineer has spotted a new location a few yards up the street that would be more than at least 50 feet away fromthe first house along Robinson Road.

UI Video, the company that owns the Blockbuster franchise, also has agreed to remove another illegal sign, a giant ticket stub that faces south from the property.

Blockbuster's five sign violations, though flagrant, are typical, Gauch said. He estimates that there are several thousand illegal signs around the county. Gauch acknowledged that the eight-person departmentonly responds to complaints.

Both the North Severna Park Community Association and the Greater Severna Park Council have taken strong positions against the Blockbuster signs.

Under existing legislation, virtually all temporary signs, such as sandwich boards, banners, blinking or flashing signs and the yellow mobile rental signs are illegal.

Blockbuster violated all of those laws, Gauch said.

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