Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to vote on whether the newly-remodeled Office Depot store on Greey Bay Road should be allowed to install the signs the company wants on the building.

The company asked the city to approve signs that would be somewhat larger than typically permitted under the city’s sign code, arguing that the tight sight-lines along Green Bay would make it hard for drivers to spot the store otherwise.

But neighbors objected, saying the signs would create visual pollution for the residential zone east of Green Bay across the Metra tracks and persuaded the city’s Sign Review Board to reject the request.

The view of Office Depot from across the tracks.

Standing on Poplar Avenue, across the Metra tracks from the store, only the parapet at the northeast corner of the store is visible, and the portion of the wall where the sign would be placed is hidden by the rail embankment.

But residents argue the glow from the signs will be visible to them, especially from their upstairs windows.

The City Council voted at its Aug. 8 meeting to hear the company’s appeal and scheduled the hearing for tonight’s meeting.

Update 10:20 a.m. 9/27/11: The Planning and Development Committee voted to approve Office Depot’s plan for the sign facing Green Bay Road, but upheld the denial of the variation for the sign that would face Jenks Street. Details of the discussion can be found starting at the 8:41 p.m. mark in our P&D recap.

Related document

Office Depot item in City Council packet

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Of course the city will deny it

    I expect it to be denied. The city seems to continue to discourage any business changes and frustrate all business so they know that they are under the city's thumb.  Of course if Office Depot made some political contributions they would probably get the sign and the city would pay for part of it as well as other gifts.

  2. Office Depot

    Try living in Optima Views on Maple — talk about lights!! However, one soon gets used to them, so get over it!

    1. Lighting actually visible ?

      Regarding the comment:

      "But neighbors objected, saying the signs would create visual pollution for the residential zone east of Green Bay across the Metra tracks and persuaded the city's Sign Review Board to reject the request."


      I recall when NU opened the "Great Room" there was one or more complaints about the [assumed] noise and lighting pollution late at night—I think from the TV screens.   I and I assume others looked and it appears the lights, if at all visible, would have affected only one private home and as I recall only if they had their bedroom facing the Great Room.

      If not a different location, I would have expected those complaining about Office Depot were the same people.  If they live on Poplar it would not shine into bedrooms since the houses have living rooms facing the proposed sign.

  3. Well if it were a non-profit,

    well if it were a non-profit, non-tax paying, city subsidized theater group, they could do what ever they wanted as that is what Commissar Tisdahl desires more of.

  4. Does Office Depot have any other signs?

    If they could have a post-mounted sign in their new parking lot, that would make themi very visible to anyone traveling on Green Bay in either direction and they wouldn't need a 'larger than allowed' sign facing Green Bay.  A sign on the wall facing east really doesn't do anything to identify this business to drivers, which is their goal. 

    In general, there are just too many signs in this City – which makes it less pedestrian feeling.  It makes Green Bay look more like a highway and less like a road.   I don't know how Duxler Tire got permission for all of the signs they have on such a small site.  That place looks ridiculous now.

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