Sports Authority Field at Mile High: City Planning and Development supports signage

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Opinions on the proposed signage upgrade at Sports Authority Field at Mile High remain split.

On the same day the city's Community Planning and Development Board issued a statement approving the changes, the Sloan's Lake Citizens' Group voted to oppose them -- just like every other registered neighborhood organization within 3,000 feet of the stadium to weigh in so far.

Public comment about the issue closed on February 6, but the stadium's neighbors continue to voice their concerns about plans to add larger and additional corporate branding to the post-Invesco stadium. Rafael Espinoza, one of the area's staunchest voices of opposition, insists the Community Planning and Development board's suggestion will not affect neighbors' appeals to stop the changes.

"At this point there are twelve RNOs opposing, 800 signatures submitted opposing, and general disbelief that the mayor hasn't personally come out to oppose the sign placement," Espinoza says.

A final decision to approve or dismiss the additions once and for all is expected to come down from the Denver Planning Board on February 15. In the weeks approaching the deadline, stadium district officials have held 25 meetings with community groups and city council representatives. After months spent compiling eighty local opinions submitted about the subject (and on view below), city urban design architect Greg Savage put together the Community Planning and Development department's response in support of the issue.

In a letter written to Brad Buchanan, chair of the Denver Planning Board, which will have the ultimate say, Savage evaluates the proposed amendments to the stadium's original sign plan based on the following criteria, and determines that it meets all of them:

1. The sign plan shall exhibit design excellence, inventiveness and sensitivity to the context.

2. Signs shall not be oriented or illuminated so that they adversely affect the surrounding area, particularly existing nearby residential uses or structures.

3. Roof signs shall not be allowed unless such signs are designed to appear as an integral part of the building to which they are attached.

4. The Comprehensive Sign Plan shall include design guidelines to ensure that all features of the proposed signage, including the illumination, support structure, color, lettering, height and location, shall be designed so that it will be an attractive and complimentary feature of the building which it serves.

5. Sign design should reflect the existing or desired character of the area.

6. Signs shall be professionally designed and fabricated from quality, durable materials.

7. The name of a sign sponsor or activity sponsor may be shown on a sign providing it does not occupy more than one (1) percent of the sign area; provided, however, outdoor general advertising devices shall not be allowed.

8. Signs for accessory uses, which are prohibited by other provisions of Article V, are allowed as part of an approved sign plan.

The comments collection features both praise and complaints, including common worries that the added signage would destroy property values, overwhelm the local view plane and shine too brightly for neighborhood comfort. While one resident opposed the signage with a note stating that "Denver is not Las Vegas," Brent Weakley called on his family's history in the area.

"My house has been here since 1906 and has been in my family since 1950," he wrote. "If would be nice to respect the wishes of the long standing neighbors, many of which were here before the football field. DON'T LET CORPORATE MONEY AND THE WISH TO FILL CITY COFFERS TRUMP THE STANDARDS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN SET IN THE PAST AROUND WHAT SIGNAGE MAY BE ALLOWED. LISTEN TO THE NEIGHBORS, WE LIVE HERE, YOU DON'T."

Although statements on the signage come mostly from individuals, they also represent neighborhood organizations such as Curtis Park Neighbors, the West Colfax Association of Neighbors and the Federal Boulevard Partnership.

Nonetheless, the board's final consensus, based on the criteria, is a positive one: According to the members' recommendation, the new signs will not disrupt the area in a negative way.

"The signs, while visible from some areas of LoDo and Downtown, are compatible with the iconic design of the stadium structure and its overall site," Savage writes. "The signs' support structures, lettering, illumination and locations on the structure are attractively designed to be complimentary to the other signage already installed on the facility. The proposed signs highlight existing structural elements of the iconic structure and do not diminish or detract from the original design."

Here's the letter:

Community Planning and Development recommendation

More from our Business archive: "Sports Authority Field at Mile High: Neighbors question the city's sign standards."

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