Proposed Triangle Square LED sign request withdrawn

COSTA MESA — On the heels of complaints from Eastside residents, the owners of Triangle Square have decided to withdraw their request to install two electronic signs on the northeast and southwest corners of the center.

The LED signs, which were approved by the Planning Commission, attracted criticism from nearby residents, who cited visual, safety and aesthetic concerns.

The outcry led Councilwoman Wendy Leece to appeal the commission's decision.

"The overwhelming opposition from the Eastside residents was a pretty good sign that more work needed to be done," Leece said. "So, I'm happy that the developers listened to the outcry from the residents and their concerns, and have withdrawn their request."

The City Council had planned to hear the appeal Sept. 7. But Newport Beach-based Greenlaw Partners, the center's owner, requested an extension, scheduled for Oct. 5.

"There were some concerns out in the community, so we talked to our sign people about that, and we need sometime to rethink things," said Greenlaw's representative, Peter Buffa, a Daily Pilot columnist. "Maybe we need to do some redesigns, have some additional meetings with the community, both near Triangle Square and maybe a little further away. All of that would take more time than Oct. 5."

Supporters said the LED signs would have helped lure in customers coming off the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway and from Harbor and Newport boulevards.

They would also advertise the tenants occupying the center, Buffa said. One of the signs would go on top of the former Niketown dome, the highest point of the center.

"Triangle Square has many problems," he said. "The biggest problem that has proven itself, time and again, is there are just not enough visitors for the tenants. Unless you know what's in there, you don't know who those tenants are."

Greenlaw is working hard to bring in high-end tenants, but many want good exposure and visibility, Buffa said.

Residents, on the other hand, say the signs' light would have shone through their windows and distracted nighttime drivers.

The signs are outlawed by Costa Mesa, but can be approved on a case-by-case basis. City staff recommended the approval to help boost ailing Triangle Square.

Steve Klaustermeier, whose home is near Flower Street and Broadway, and who complained about the signs to the council, said this is good news.

"They might want to come back with maybe a smaller sign, but we still don't want to see any signs from our house," he said. "I'd have to see their new proposal."

Klaustermeier said he nearly gave up, thinking the city will push it through.

Buffa did not give a timeline on when Greenlaw will approach the city again for the signs. Greenlaw might or might not make another request, he said.

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