Target wins pitch for oversize sign |

Target wins pitch for oversize sign

Jane Reuter

SILVERTHORNE – Target officials argued for and gained approval Wednesday for a sign more than two times the size allowed by Silverthorne’s code.

The council was evenly divided on the issue, with almost everyone giving strong argument for their position. Mayor Lou DelPiccolo broke a tied vote on the variance, tipping it in favor of Target.

Under that variance, the front entrance of the new Silverthorne Target will be marked by a 204-square-foot front entrance sign, which will hang on a building situated 300 feet back from Highway 9. Silverthorne code allows a 100-square-foot sign, prompting the town’s planning staff to recommend council deny the variance request.

The current “Target” banner at the construction site is 126 square feet.

Letters on the approved sign will be 5 feet high. The accompanying Target bull’s-eye, part of the company’s trademark, will be 6 feet tall.

Target representative John Newell said the size of the sign is tied directly to the success of the store, now under construction on Blue River Parkway and Annie Road. Complicating matters, he said the location of the Silverthorne store gives drivers limited time in which to see the store and the sign.

“I’ve never seen a property of this type,” Newell said. For northbound drivers, he said the visibility is limited “until you’re almost upon the building.”

“Without the larger sign, we do believe we would be at a disadvantage,” he told the council.

Newell also assured the group that signage will be tasteful.

“Target tries to keep a very clean design versus splattering signs all over a building like a Wal-Mart,” he said.

He also threw in a reminder of what Target could do.

“We could have nine, 100-square-foot signs all over that building, per code,” he said.

Newell’s arguments didn’t convince everyone. Councilmember Karla Trippe said she doesn’t believe the store would suffer from a smaller sign.

“There is nobody is Summit County today that doesn’t know where this store is and is eagerly awaiting its opening,” she said.

“Huge signs do not look bad in an urban environment,” said Councilmember Dave Koop. “But the scenery here does not need competition or improvement. It’s about as good as it gets.

“It’s not as if you’re between a Wal-Mart or a Kmart. You’re the only show in town. They will find you.”

Councilmember Peggy Long disagreed, citing the numerous architectural improvements Target has agreed to make on its Silverthorne store.

“Since Target was gracious enough to do away with the red roof, I think we need to be flexible,” she said.

“Given the size of the building, the size of the sign doesn’t seem so overwhelming,” said Councilmember Sheila Groneman. “I’m sure Target will be successful, but if we can help in any way to make it any more successful …”

Councilmembers Groneman, Long and Steve Swanson voted in favor of the variance, with councilmembers Trippe, Koop and Howard Hallman against it.

In breaking the tie for the variance, DelPiccolo said he feared striking it down could allow Target to go ahead with nine, 100-square-foot signs.

“We are in effect tempting something worse than what is being offered here,” he said.

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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