3 strikes, you're out: P&Z denies QuikTrip signage for 3rd time

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission denied a request for additional signage at the QuikTrip location at the intersection of FM 1417 and U.S. Highway 75 this week. This represents the third time that the commission has denied the gas station's requests for signage.

For QuikTrip, third time wasn't a charm this week as it was denied permission to put up signage by the Sherman Planning & Zoning Commission.

This latest denial marks the third time in just over a year that the commission has denied variances and permits for signage at its second Sherman location at the corner of FM 1417 and U.S. Highway 75.

In its third attempt, representatives for QuikTrip requested a variance that would allow it to build a second sign to advertise its gas prices to the service road traffic. However, the Blalock Overlay District has stiff restrictions on signage.

"We do have one addressing the need for signage along FM 1417," said John Pimentel, representing QuikTrip. We feel we are unable to advertise effectively on the service road currently. We do have a sign showing southbound on our gas canopy, but it is hindered by the McDonald's building."

Pimentel said the current canopy sign is ineffective as it is not easily visible when approached the Hwy. 75 and FM 1417 intersection due to topography and neighboring development.

The new sign would be a 12-foot freestanding monument sign with 58 feet of space standing 32 feet from Hwy. 75. The sign met the city requirements, however the Blalock district limits businesses to just one sign.

P&Z Member Paul Manley questioned the request, noting that the McDonald's development shouldn't have been a surprise to developers and could have been an expected hurdle.

"Did you have some knowledge of what development to the north was going to look like when you put the sign on the canopy," Manley said.

Pimentel noted that developers were well aware of McDonald's presence, but said they originally expected to have other signage that ultimately was denied by P&Z.

He added that the canopy signage was meant to be a short term solution until something more permanent could be put in place. QuikTrip would also be willing to remove this signage if it were able to build other signage.

Manley noted that due to the size of the sign, it likely would still face visibility issues on the site.

City staff noted that all four corners of the intersection have gas stations, including two who have pole signs. However, these signs predate the Blalock district and have been grandfathered in.

Rob Rae, incoming director of development services, said approving the request would also set a precedent that could be used by future development that is seeking signage in the area.

The other station without signage at the intersection is a Lone Star Food Store, owned by Douglass Distributing. DD CEO Bill Douglass spoke during against the request during the meeting and asked at QuikTrip be required to play by the rules.

"We would like QuikTrip to operate under the Blalock subdivision rules," Douglass said. "We have lived by that code that says you can have but only one sign ... All I am saying is we've played by the rules and didn't put up signs. We used a place up on the canopy."