Signs of change at shopping hub

A year after buying the biggest commercial development in La Cañada Flintridge, IDS Real Estate has won city approval of a new 15-foot sign, an important step in giving the Town Center a facelift.

The Planning Commission voted 3 to 0 to approve a new signage plan on Tuesday night. Two commissioners, Herand Sarkissian and Arun Jain, were not in attendance.

IDS will build a new 15-foot monument sign at the corner of Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard and a 6-foot-high monument sign at Foothill Boulevard and Sport Chalet Drive, in front of the Home Goods store. It also will add directional signs for pedestrians and drivers within the center and internally lit wall signs bearing the names of merchants.

While the current signs read “Town Center,” the proposed 15-foot monument sign prominently features the words “La Cañada Flintridge” in large letters, with “Town Center” in a notably smaller font.

Planning Commissioner Rick Gunter said it was important to the commission that the proposed signs were designed as part of a larger monument structure.

“I don't want to give the impression that we approved a sign bigger than any in town … it's more an anchor feature on a development than it is a sign per se,” he said.

IDS originally proposed a 22-foot-high monument sign on Foothill Boulevard, but reduced it to 15 feet during several months of discussions with the city.

Resident Dottie Juett attended Tuesday's planning meeting because she is worried about the impact of new, larger signs — particularly the wall signs listing the center's tenants.

“If there are going to be eight of those, are they going to be like billboards? That's what I'm worried about. We've been here since 1967, and we've seen the city change so much,” Juett said. “They seem to be making the sign smaller, but it's awfully big.”

Gunter said planning commissioners are confident that with the Design Commission working out the details, the new signage will fit in.

“I thought they put together a very nice package that was clean, simple and elegant,” he said of IDS.

The center, which opened in 2008 after a decades-long effort by Sport Chalet founder Norbert Olberz, was sold to Los Angeles-based IDS Real Estate Group in July 2011.

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