The Fenton Zoning Board of Appeals has granted a sign variance for a new fine dining restaurant.

Owners and representatives for The Meeting Place went before the ZBA Tuesday night asking for the sign variance they feel they need to be able to survive and thrive. Being built at the old Bob Evans location at 3600 Owen Road, in Fenton, The Meeting Place’s legal representation argued that under the current sign ordinance, the restaurants signage would be obscured by elevation changes, tree lines, traffic, and other businesses. They were asking for a 109 square foot sign, reaching a height of 12 feet, with roughly a third being electronic. Current city ordinance allows signs to be 72 square feet and 6 feet high.

Part of the sign includes an electronic portion. ZBA officials discussed, perhaps warning the owner, how the city was moving in a direction towards possibly eliminating them in a future master plan. With that still not official, however, they recognized it couldn’t impact their decision on this case.

One solution the ZBA offered was to allow an additional wall sign that would be visible to westbound traffic. The owner felt that was too cost prohibitive. The ZBA, recognizing a need to help the new business, asked if the applicant could cut back their original design to 75% of the requested size. At 9 feet from the ground and 77 square feet in area, the owner believed they could make it work. The ZBA voted unanimously on the variance. The Meeting Place is looking to open up to the public in late July or early August. (MK)