After hearing near-universal disapproval of the possibility of offsite advertising at The Triangle, a representative from the Costa Mesa shopping center's owner withdrew that component of the company's request Tuesday night.
Newport Beach-based Greenlaw Partners had sought the Planning Commission's approval to allow Costa Mesa businesses, performing arts venues or city agencies — non-Triangle tenants — advertising space at an existing 600-square-foot vinyl sign and a proposed 300-square-foot vinyl sign.
Critics of the proposal, which included some Eastside residents who spoke at the meeting, said allowing offsite advertising would have opened the flood gates for anything and everything to be displayed at The Triangle, from Coca-Cola to condoms. They also opposed the idea of advertising altogether, calling it a visual blight on the area.
In its proposal, Greenlaw said the advertising would have promoted the industrial Westside and would bring The Triangle more customer attention.
"We want to be good neighbors, good citizens in the community," said Greenlaw representative Don Lamm after announcing the withdrawal. "We did not believe the signage would be a great issue to them, but obviously it was. We heard them and we will always respond to the neighborhood. We want to make it a shopping center that everybody's proud of in downtown Costa Mesa."
Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy called the offsite advertising a "dog that was not going to hunt."
After Greenlaw's withdrawal, the commission unanimously approved a 300-square-foot sign at the corner of Harbor and Newport boulevards, where the Gap was once housed. The sign will advertise Triangle tenants.
During public comments, Eastside resident Katie Arthur said she was concerned about offsite advertising.
"That is not the legacy you guys want to leave our city," she said. "We don't want to be a city of billboards."
Area resident Perry Valantine, who opposed offsite signage, said the downtown area in 1973 was full of signs compared to today.
"The situation was there were so many signs and there so much information that you couldn't read anything," he said. "It was just all competing for your attention. We've made incredible progress in the city since then."
In response to noise concerns about The Triangle's current tenants, Lamm urged people to contact him or the Costa Mesa Police Department. The police, he said, create reports that could be used as evidence of alleged wrongdoing.
"I apologize if we raised the furor of the community … don't view us as being an irresponsible business owner," he said.