Commentary: Clearing up misconceptions about proposed signage at Triangle Square

A rendering shows an LED billboard proposed for Costa Mesa's Triangle Square.
(Courtesy of Selbert Perkins Design)

The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on many businesses locally and throughout the country. As coronavirus cases continue to drop, vaccinations increase and businesses slowly begin to reopen, it is more crucial than ever that we support local businesses that have suffered a year of economic setbacks.

At Triangle Square, we are committed to supporting our tenants and helping attract new businesses to the area. We also plan to refresh and revitalize the center and in turn the heart of downtown Costa Mesa.

However, the center lost a significant business, Keys on Main, which was a casualty of the prolonged shutdown and now leaves the community with fewer entertainment options. Additional closures may be coming, underscoring how much local businesses need our support.

We need to work together as business owners, the community and the city to support local restaurants, shops and services so we can help those who have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Coming together as a community is what will help bolster businesses, bring back jobs and encourage new businesses to come to Costa Mesa.

Part of the revitalization plan at Triangle Square is a proposed digital signage plan that went to the city Planning Commission a year ago, with community outreach to local residents beginning prior to that. It is more critical now than ever that we support our tenants and other local businesses on the economic road to recovery from the pandemic.

We plan to reestablish Triangle Square as Costa Mesa’s premier dining and entertainment destination and our existing as well as potential tenants have all expressed an overwhelming interest and support for the signage program.

Before the proposal went to the Planning Commission last year, in-depth research and rigorous studies were performed, and Cal Trans had already approved the plan, deeming that it would have no safety impact on traffic.

The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective, but they will only work if people get them.

Triangle Square’s lighting consultant, Long Beach-based Lighting Design Alliance, took steps to ensure the safety of Costa Mesa commuters by proposing a lower foot candle — or brightness — than what is allowed by the city.

The signage will be no brighter than adjacent traffic signals or ambient lighting in nearby neighborhoods from streetlamps and residential lighting. The signage would be dimmed to alleviate any safety concerns in inclement weather, such as fog.

The proposed signage uses the latest digital technology to ensure a smooth and subtle transition from static image to static image, meaning the images are not moving, blinking or animated. To provide further safety precautions, Triangle Square has proposed lengthening the transition period from image to image from the legally allowed eight seconds to 20 seconds, more than doubling the allowed time an image can change.

In response to community concerns about the size and height of the signage, Los Angeles-based design firm Selbert Perkins has lowered the placement of the proposed signage on the dome at Newport Boulevard and 19th Street. In addition, the size has been reduced by half the size of the existing banner, lessening the visibility from nearby homes.

We want to reassure the community that per the development agreement there are strict guidelines for advertising, prohibiting cannabis, vape, adult businesses or other inappropriate advertising.

Our team meticulously researched, designed and presented to the city a safe and state-of-the-art digital signage plan that provides safety measures well above and beyond allowable guidelines for brightness, transition and display length of images.

It is more critical now than ever before that we support local businesses as they recover from the pandemic, and that we come together as a community to help our local economy by stabilizing businesses, providing more jobs and drawing new businesses to Costa Mesa.

Questions about this proposed improvement to Triangle Square can be sent to

Tyler Mateen is a principal with Cannon Commercial, which owns Triangle Square.

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