Sunday, December 6, 2015

On the Edge of the Historic District

Some may question if Hudson even needs another liquor store, but whether or not it does, it's got one at 720 Columbia Street, and the Historic Preservation is spending a lot of time and effort dealing with the sign being proposed for the shop. 

Although the plans for the faux rough-hewn stone storefront shown above have been abandoned, the sign composed of illuminated red plastic letters across the width of the storefront have not, and the HPC finds this kind of signage inappropriate in a historic district. To accommodate the applicant, the HPC held a workshop session on Friday to explain further their issues with the proposed sign and to explore what signage would be appropriate in the historic district. Two members of the HPC--Phil Forman and Miranda Barry--conducted the workshop; HPC chair Rick Rector was also present.

At the previous HPC meeting, Forman had suggested that the font played a big role in making the sign seem out of character with a historic district. Matt, of Matthew Signs, who spoke on behalf of the applicant, maintained that the bold sans serif font was part of the company's "brand" (they have a gas station and mini mart on Fairview Avenue and another in Schenectady). Despite this, renderings of the sign done in three different serif fonts were presented at Friday's meeting, and the font on the temporary banner now displayed on the store is Times Roman.

Barry stressed that the proposed signage was appropriate to Fairview Avenue or a strip mall but not to a historic district. "If you can have buildings that look like Fairview Avenue," she asked rhetorically, "why have a historic district?" Matt argued that the sign was compatible with its surroundings because there were already signs like it in the immediate vicinity, citing specifically the illuminated plastic signs at the St. Charles Hotel, the Citgo station next door, the Speedway station and at One City Centre around the corner, and the neon sign at Grazin' Diner.

Barry suggested that for visibility at night the sign could be illuminated with goose neck lamps; Matt said there wasn't room for any kind of lighting other than internal. Barry suggested a sign hanging perpendicular to the building, which is standard along Warren Street; the applicant objected that it wouldn't be visible enough. Matt expressed the opinion that the building wasn't historic "because it has vinyl siding"; Rector summarized, "The whole point is that this is a historic building in a historic district," and told the applicant, "You're hearing some good advice."

It is expected that a new proposal for signage will be presented at the next meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission on Friday, December 11.


  1. Was that new big plastic sign on the old Masonic Hall on N. 3rd approved ?

  2. Something tells me that this shop won't cater to the Lower Union Street crowd.

  3. Maybe M&M could use mini step ladders painted different colors for signage, oops that's on another historic bldg. just a few doors down. Can't use that again.
    Well maybe it's art. We need Sherlock or the Pink Panther to investigate.
    What say Mr. Trump?
    What, our Common Council members don't know what Donald's opinion is?
    Alas, woe are we Hudsonians.