Stamford CVS seeks big, bright sign in Bull’s Head
STAMFORD — The Bull’s Head CVS could soon get a lot brighter — and easier to find — if the store is allowed to build a 133-foot illuminated sign along Cold Spring Road.
The plan, scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday evening before the Zoning Board of Appeals, has raised some concerns for residents.
According to city zoning code, signs cannot exceed 30-square-feet on the sides of businesses in the CVS zone, the Neighborhood Business District.
It is unclear whether the chain or the property owner is seeking the change. A sign company and a consulting firm are listed on the Zoning Board of Appeals agenda.
If approved, the variance would allow a sign of more than four times that maximum to be erected on the pharmacy chain’s side wall. It would also be lit up, according to the public notice.
“What do they want to do? Make Bull’s Head look like Times Square or the Las Vegas strip?,” former city Rep. Cynthia Reeder wrote in an email seeking to sound the alarm.
Barry Michelson, an outspoken member of the Stamford Neighborhood Coalition, which seeks to rein in what it sees as over development, questioned the proposal.
Variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals are traditionally sought by those who face a “hardship” created by the zoning code, Michelson said. He questioned what hardship emerged from being constrained to a 30-square-foot sign.
The Zoning Board, he added, usually handles signage matters.
“We have standards for a reason,” he said. “Especially when it comes to signage.”
The pharmacy chain did not respond to an email seeking comment. Quesited Consulting, the local consulting firm listed on the agenda as advocating for the change, did not return a message seeking comment.
The hearing is slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall’s fourth-floor cafeteria.
The CVS, built in 2010, has a large sign on the front of its building on High Ridge Road. But it only has a small 24-hour sign noting its hours on the Cold Spring Road side.
The chain’s Bull’s Head location and appearance was controversial a decade ago, with more than two years of delays over the design of a retaining wall.
When it opened in early 2011, neighbors complained of glaring red signage and bright parking-lot lights.
The pharmacy could be seeking the change because the location’s long setback from Cold Spring. It is nearly 200 feet from the road, and is also hidden behind a vacant drive-through bank, the same old Bank of America site that developers sought to raze and replace with a drive-through Chick-fil-A.
The Chick-fil-A plan was withdrawn in August over backlash from the the city and neighbors.
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