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Hotel sign allowed to stay

CANMORE ­– A hotel sign that was in violation of town bylaws will be allowed to stay after the subdivision and appeal board upheld an appeal to keep it the way it is.
Hotelsign
The Subdivision and Appeal Board ruled that this sign can stay despite opposition from the town that it was in violation of its freestanding signs bylaw.

CANMORE ­– A hotel sign that was in violation of town bylaws will be allowed to stay after the subdivision and appeal board upheld an appeal to keep it the way it is.

In its ruling, the appeal board stated the Lamphouse Hotel’s sign on Main Street was esthetically pleasing and would not interfere with neighbouring parcels of land.

The board also stated it fit into the redevelopment of the hotel and the surrounding area.

The decision was hailed by Mike Halprin, owner of CanSign, the company responsible for redesigning the sign.

“It’s an extremely positive outcome,” said Halprin. “I feel like this is a step in the right direction and shows the Town of Canmore that some of its bylaws may be a little bit outdated and antiquated.”

In July, the town denied a development permit for the new sign in front of the hotel because its height, size, setback, projection and landscaping did not comply with the town’s freestanding sign bylaw.

Despite being denied a permit, the hotel decided to redesign the sign anyway so the property would be easy to find by visitors during the busy tourist season. It also filed an appeal of the decision.

The subdivision and appeal board heard the appeal on Sept. 5 and approved five variances so the sign could stay the way it is.

During the discussion, Halprin explained that beyond changing the logo and giving the sign a new coat of paint, the actual structure of the sign didn’t change.

“All we changed is the background colour and the actual signage,” said Halprin, explaining the sign has been in place for nearly 40 years.

“In the grand scheme of signage, I don’t think we’re asking for too much here.” 

Regardless, the town argued that any change to the sign would require five variances, something the planning and development department wasn’t prepared to do.

Alaric Fish, manger of planning and development for the town, said whenever an applicant comes forward with a new development the town tries to use the opportunity to bring older buildings into compliance with the town’s bylaws, including signage.

Halprin acknowledged the sign was in violation of the town’s bylaws, but argued it had been in place for nearly four decades and the new logo was of a cleaner, simpler design.

He also provided the board with eight letters in support of the appeal.

Fish agreed the sign was more in line with what the town would like to see esthetically, but reiterated it was still not in compliance with the town’s freestanding sign bylaw.

It’s the second time this year the development and appeal board has upheld an appeal by a proponent of a sign that was not in compliance with the town’s signage bylaw.

Sky McLean, owner of the hotel, did not respond to an interview request.


Paul Clarke

About the Author: Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke has spent the past four years working as a community news reporter in Jasper, Banff and Canmore.
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