Council also sought to clarify interpretations of the city’s rules on how an applicant may seek a sign variance.
With regard to the Bee Cave City Charter’s chapter 28, staff sought direction on how to interpret rules detailing which criteria would allow an applicant to install signage at a location or in ways normally not allowed.
“To staff’s knowledge, the last time the sign ordinance was discussed by Council outside of the context of a specific sign variance application was circa 2009, when the current ordinance was adopted,” a city document states, adding that at that time more than a decade ago, council was inundated with sign variance requests, and city staff was given direction to apply strict scrutiny to all requests.
Council agreed to allow staff to rewrite for clarity the section of the city code dealing with sign variances, and Lindsey Oskoui, Bee Cave director of planning and development, said new language probably would not appear before council again until this fall.
Related to sign variances, during the May 12 meeting council also voted on two requests from properties within the Park at Bee Cave development located at 3944 RM 620.
A variance request from the Park at Bee Cave’s Building 8 seeks to add three signs on the south side of Building 8, and city regulations only allow for a maximum of two signs on any given side of a building.
Bee Cave requires applicants to prove physical hardship to be granted a variance, and in this case the applicant—representing Austin Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center, Lake Austin Eye, and Urgent Care—stated site constraints caused by the area’s topography make it difficult for prospective clients to locate the businesses, and because of this wayfinding signage is necessary and justified.
Council voted to approve the requested variance and limited it to three signs on the south side of Building 8. Council reasoned topographical deterrents were unique to the property and therefore justified the approval.
Another business within the Park at Bee Cave, Urban Air, requested a variance during the May 12 meeting to put up a 150-square-foot sign, even though the building falls into a category within the city’s sign code that only allows for a maximum 36-square-foot sign.
Among other reasons, Urban Air, which once open will occupy the Park at Bee Cave’s Building 5, cited topography issues in its variance request to the city.
“The expanse between Ranch Road 620 and the back corner of the development where Urban Air lies includes a retail center that effectively serves to obscure the visual right of way. An incoming bank building will further conceal the location,” stated Brian and Van May, the owners of Urban Air Adventure Park, in their variance request. “As a result, visibility is unduly limited for a business that relies on identification from passersby.”
Council voted to approve the request from Urban Air for the 150-square-foot sign.