Sprouts signage glitch is solved

After three months of wrangling with the city, Sprouts Farmers Market has reached an agreement with the Design Commission on signage for its new La Cañada store.

The commission voted unanimously at a meeting Jan. 5 to approve a signage plan that managed a compromise between the multiple large, illuminated signs requested by Sprouts and the Planning Commission’s October push for a more understated, natural look.

The store, which is expected to open at 7 a.m., March 21, will be located in the newly remodeled building that formerly housed Sport Chalet on the south side of Foothill Boulevard at Beulah Drive.

After the City Council upheld the Planning Commission’s ruling, the Design Commission took over the process and approved a plan that will give Sprouts two large, reverse-channel-lit signs on the east and north sides of the building, and two smaller, rustic wooden signs on the north side.

The sign on the east side of the building, facing Beulah, will be limited to 5 feet in height, while the sign on the north side, facing Foothill Boulevard, cannot be more than 4 feet high. Sprouts originally sought approval of two 6-foot-tall signs for those locations.

Debra Leong of Noble Signs, who represented Sprouts during the signage permitting process, said that the Design Commission made an effort to accommodate the retailer and help produce an outcome that pleased all parties.

“They really stepped forward and tried to work with Sprouts,” she said.

Leong said that the two sandblasted redwood signs, reading “Natural Foods” and “Farm Fresh Produce,” will be hung on either side of the main sign on the building’s Foothill side.

Sprouts could have pushed for even more signage, according to city planner Chris Gjolme, but chose not to.

“They actually did have an opportunity to go for a couple more if they wanted, but Sprouts was happy with just the two secondary signs on the north elevation, along Foothill Boulevard. That’s where they figured visibility was most important,” he said.

Leong had previously told the City Council that requiring Sprouts to decrease the size of its signs and switch them from channel lighting (as seen at the Vons store on Foothill Boulevard) to reverse-channel lighting (like signs used by Chico’s, across Oakwood Avenue from Vons) was unfair and would be counterproductive for the market. But this week she said that the new plan was satisfactory to all involved.

“Ultimately in the end they really did … work hard and get something that was workable for Sprouts,” she said. “So I think everyone ended up being happy.”

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