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Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
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City Takes Fresh Look at Old Signs

The Blue Room. Safari Inn. The Handy Market. What do each of these businesses have in common besides a Burbank address? They have been deemed historic – well, at least their signs have. The Media City is considering a voluntary ordinance that would protect and fix up iconic commercial signs in place for at least 50 years. The ordinance grew out of a tempest that followed the opening of a Umami Burger restaurant in the former space of Papoo’s Hot Dog Show, which closed in 2011 after 62 years in business in Toluca Lake. The city received an $18,000 grant last spring from the state Office of Historic Preservation to create the ordinance, and to hire Architectural Resource Group, a San Francisco consultancy. The firm surveyed the city and found some 80 signs possibly worthy of protection. “They gave us the grant based on the fact we thought we had (historic signs) in the city that should be evaluated,” said Amanda Landry, a city associate planner. The ordinance would allow any resident to nominate a sign for protection but only with the consent of the owner. Once designated, the signs could not be taken down without permission from Burbank’s Historic Preservation Commission. As incentive to participate, the city would waive any permit fees for work on the signs and also reduce on-site building permit fees by 10 percent up to an annual maximum of $5,000. Debbie LoGuercio, 60, who co-owns Chili John’s on West Burbank Bouelvard, said she is eager to participate so she can fix up her 70-year-old sign. “I want to keep it safe, because it hovers over the walkway,” she said. — Champaign Williams

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