Alhambra : Council OKs 78-Foot Sign

The City Council voted 3 to 2 Monday to allow installation of a 78-foot-tall free-standing sign near a residential neighborhood, prompting some residents to threaten a legal challenge.

The council's vote reversed the Planning Commission's unanimous decision to deny Almansor Court Inc. permission to put up a sign just south of the San Bernardino Freeway near 6th Street. The sign will advertise the Almansor Court restaurant and the municipal golf course, a $6.5-million facility developed as a public-private partnership between the city and Almansor Court Inc.

Council members Barbara Messina and Michael Blanco voted against Almansor Court's appeal. Council members Parker Williams, Mary Louise Bunker and Talmage Burke voted to grant the appeal.

The city staff determined that the sign is a government sign and therefore exempt from the city's zoning ordinance.

The Almansor Court restaurant and banquet facility are privately operated by Almansor Court Inc. but are located in a city-owned building leased to the company. Almansor Court said it will pay for the sign, which will be located on city property.

The restaurant operators said that the sign is needed to attract more business. Residents objected to the sign's height and location and questioned whether the restaurant needed additional advertisement.

Jim Wenck, a resident who lives nearby said he plans to hire an attorney and organize residents against the installation. "We are going to fight this thing. They are absolutely not going to put a sign there."

David Woods, 29, another resident said he would join Wenck in a legal challenge. "I was really upset that they allowed themselves a variance because it's a government sign."

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