Neighbors Petition Against Proposed Office Depot Sign

They say the sign would damage the character of the neighborhood.

Evanston residents who live near the Office Depot on Green Bay Road are organizing against two new proposed illuminated signs that the store has requested permission to install.

One sign would face north and the other would face east, both would be more than 20 feet high with lighted 4 to 5 foot tall red letters. Since the sign is above the city's size limits, the store is requesting a variation to the sign regulations at an upcoming Evanston Sign Review and Appeals board meeting.

"There is a feeling that the Office Depot changes are leading to a 'big box' store presence in a mixed residential-small store neighborhood," said Randy Otte, one of the organizers of the petition.

"The height and size of the proposed signs (and the false façade) are consistent with developments in new  suburban commercial strips which sit behind football sized parking lots, not stores that are located 10 feet from a street with a pedestrian sidewalk," he said.

The petition says the signs would intrude into the residential neighborhood and Torgerson Park and "be an environmental and financial detriment to residential neighbors."

"The proposed new illuminated signs, because of their size and height will  now be highly visible inside many residents’ homes and create visual distractions," Otte said.

People who have signed the petition are also planning on attending the Sign Review and Appeals Board meeting on Thursday evening to voice their concerns in person.

Evanston Patch has reached out to Office Depot for comment, and will update the story if we hear back.

Christina May 12, 2011 at 12:23 AM
The residents of the area affected by OD's neon sign have circulated one petition demonstrating their opposition to the variance. Their efforts have probably not taken any one person more time than it took you to post (four times) about how offended you are that people are fulfilling their civic duty. If you can have such a strong opinion for the sign, why not allow them to have an opinion against it? Is it really detrimental that these individuals care about the neighborhood in which they live? I fail to understand why those commentating think petitions are a prodigious way of demonstrating support. How else is the city supposed to know how its constituents feel?
Courtney June 18, 2011 at 01:25 AM
I'm sorry, but if you do not live in the area surrounding OD you cannot clearly understand how the sign would intrude on the residents. Making incorrect and altogether rediculous judgements on the people that are standing up for what they believe in, i.e that they don't have "jobs, hobbies, or personal lives," are just out of order and completely unnessesary. I think it is grand that people are still speaking up for themselves and they are not sitting idly by and letting their town take over them. This is partly what a democracy and a city government is for: to let people voice their concerns over particular issues or in other cases support other issues. Christina is right on point in her comment. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I can respect their opinions if they are backed up by evidence and support. Many people commenting on this article are simply stating that the residents against the OD sign are stupid. Why are they stupid? Because they want their neighborhood to still keep somewhat of a residential feel? Why are you so offended by the residents wanting OD to change their sign plans? Why is it so horrendous that they are speaking up for themselves? As I said in the beginning of my comment, you have to be living in the neighborhoods around OD to be affected by its sign plans and if you don't live near OD, why do you care so much about it being changed?
Richard Schulte June 18, 2011 at 02:36 PM
"As I said in the beginning of my comment, you have to be living in the neighborhoods around OD to be affected by its sign plans and if you don't live near OD, why do you care so much about it being changed?" Courtney, every resident of Evanston is affected by the business climate in Evanston. Evanston has a reputation for being "anti-business". The sign at Office Depot is just one example. The Tilted Kilt is another example. The criticism of Dominick's is yet another example. National-Louis University, Kendall College, Toyota of Evanston and Evanston Subaru is a short-list of businesses who have decided to leave Evanston. Do you want to add Office Depot to that list?
Courtney June 18, 2011 at 10:58 PM
All I want to know is why is it so hard for Office Depot to change their sign plans to comply with the city standards and leave the neighborhoods' climate the same? It is not a crime--not even a bad choice--for residents of Evanston to want to keep where they are living the same. It's not bad of them to speak their concerns. Yes, it is unfortunate that Evanston has a reuptation of an anti-business town. But I do not think people should be passive and let businesses walk all over them for fear that they will leave town. I, for one, want to live in a place that I feel welcome, at home, and comfortable in. Obviously these residents feel that the OD signs would impose on those feelings.
Richard Schulte June 18, 2011 at 11:17 PM
". . .government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Ronald Reagan The First Amendment guarantees you the right to express your opinion on political issues. The First Amendment also guarantees those who disagree with you the right to express their opinion. In my opinion, the size of the Office Depot sign is a trivial matter in the grand scheme of things. It's a shame that many have chosen to make this trivial issue important. Let's stop the harrassement of business over trivia. There are actually people who are unemployed and want to work. Harrassing businesses over trivia is not helping those people who are unemployed or under-employed. Maybe you have a job or lots of money-have a little consideration for those who don't. In other words, stop being so selfish.


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