By Nicole Shine/Garden Grove Journal
The vote Tuesday night ended a seven-month debate that has included at least two neighborhood meetings and the circulation of anti-sign petitions.
Residents packed the council chambers, with eight speaking against the sign during an open comment session that stretched over an hour.
Maureen Blackmun, a 35-year resident who lives near the dealership, cited concerns about safety, the lack of input from area residents and the speed of the process. She also worried about the image a bright, flashing sign conveyed about the city.
“This is back to a Garbage Grove image,” Blackmun said.
She provided a petition with 163 signatures in opposition.
Another opponent, Phat Bui, echoed her concerns and worried the large sign would soon send other businesses clamoring for equally sizable displays.
Dealership owner Eric Hardin said he had heeded community feedback by moving the sign to the far west side of the dealership and by reducing the brightness and frequency of the LED display. He also agreed to share the display with the city to promote civic events.
Also supporting the sign, Chamber of Commerce President Jeremy Harris framed it as a business issue, saying companies consider signage a key factor when deciding whether to set up shop in the city.
Another chamber representative, Sandy Thomas, said the sign would be a boon to city coffers, generating more general fund and sales tax revenues.
In other business, the council gave the green light to two new developments. The first, at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Twintree Lane, calls for the construction of a 263-ft hotel, five restaurants, two smaller hotels, and two adjoining parking structures in a mixed use project. The second proposal authorizes a 25-unit apartment complex at 12662 Dale St.
The council also extended City Manager Matt Fertal’s contract one year, without a pay increase. Fertal has been on the job since 2004.