The Rockford fights to keep its signs
Posted June 4, 2014
Updated June 5, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — The Rockford, a restaurant in the Glenwood South district, has improved its visibility from a nondescript sign on its door to its name painted twice in large letters atop the Glenwood Avenue building.
“It’s not garish and thank goodness it’s not flashing neons,” said Kelly Watson while dining at the restaurant.
The change has led to increased profits and plenty of positive feedback – except from the City of Raleigh.
Turns out the sign is too big and violates the city’s sign ordinance.
“They are saying the sign can only match the square footage of our door,” said Jason Tran, Rockford chef and general manager.
That could be a problem – the restaurant is on the second floor.
The city’s planning department said the restaurant didn’t get a permit for the paintings. Now, owners of The Rockford are fighting to keep the signs and have asked the community to help by signing a petition, which has received over 1,000 signatures.
The owners also requested a variance, which would allow the signs to stay. The request is currently under review by the city’s Board of Adjustment.
The basic rule is that signs must be 2 square feet for every 1 linear foot of wall it’s attached to, said Travis Crane, the city’s planning and zoning administrator. The Rockford’s signs are roughly 250 square feet on one wall and about 80 feet on the other, Crane said.
The building, located at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and North Street, is 54 feet wide on one side and 73 feet wide on the other, Crane said. Even with the full amount of signage allowed, the sign is still too big, Crane said.
The situation is the “poster child” for why ordinance changes are needed, said city councilwoman Mary Ann Baldwin, who hopes the city and the restaurant can find a solution.
A task force is currently reviewing the city’s sign ordinance.
“One of the things they are looking at is how can we allow more creativity,” Baldwin said. “It's a balance between allowing creativity and keeping the community beautiful.”
If the signs must be removed, it could cost the restaurant up to $10,000, Tran said.