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Shepherd opposing Sports Authority signs

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A drawing of what the new Sports Authority's signage could look like.

The score is more than 500 to one.

That tally reflects the number of people who overwhelmingly oppose the Sports Authority’s controversial plan to display huge, new signs on its namesake stadium where the Denver Broncos play and who have so far contacted District 1 City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd.

 

On Wednesday, the Denver Planning Board will meet to discuss the signage. Shepherd plans to speak against the signage plan at the meeting, an aide said on Monday.

A spokesman for Englewood-based Sports Authority did not immediately return a call.  The sporting goods company is proposing that the three new “Sports Authority” signs would be built on the existing curved metal band at the top of the upper seating bowl on the west, north and east elevations of the 1.7-million-square-foot stadium. According to the amendment seeking the waiver to install the signs, although they  will be visible from some areas of LoDo and downtown they are “compatible with the iconic design of the stadium structure and its overall site.”

The amendment before the planning board goes on to say that the nearest residential units are about 1,000 feet from the signs, which will be internally illuminated with LEDs that will have a red or orange vinyl overlays that Sports Authority says will lessen the brightness. The signs would be placed approximately 5,321 feet above sea level, which is below the view plane height limit of 5,420 feet allowed under zoning, according to a review of the amendment by the planning staff.

Comparing the Sports Authority sign to the Ikea sign

Last Friday, Shepherd said the letter below to the planning board:

Sports Authority Field at Mile High is located within my city council district. I have heard from numerous residents and various registered neighborhood organizations in Denver about the proposed amendment to the comprehensive sign plan.

I would like to share with you a few of my concerns:

  • When Sports Authority agreed to become the new sponsor of the Stadium, they were well aware of the existing sign plan. I am not convinced that their amendment to the sign plan is an enhancement for the community, and I feel it would be important for Sports Authority to honor the contract as they entered into it. While I appreciate that Stadium Authority has been working with neighbors on the illumination schedule and has agreed turn some lights off by 12:00 am, it concerns me that some of the requests of neighbors are not being addressed.
  • Based on my conversations with neighbors who are equally educated about the results of the lighting study, it appears there are some discrepancies with the lighting study conducted by Sports Authority and testimonies from neighborhood representatives who are well versed with lighting studies concerning real life impacts on neighbors. I do take my neighbors’ concerns regarding quality of life issues seriously.
  • There also seems to be some inconsistencies regarding how neighborhood outreach was conducted. I have been told by Sports Authority that they have held numerous neighborhood meetings as part of their outreach efforts, yet neighborhood representatives have informed me that they were only contacted one time (December 14th) prior to the hearing which was originally scheduled for January 18th. In addition, there were was not a second follow up meeting scheduled with the most highly affected RNO, Jefferson Park United Neighbors, Inc., until Stadium Authority was made aware of the potential opposition to their plan. I am concerned that neighborhood outreach has not been conducted thoroughly enough. Please note that due to my urging for an extension of the hearing so that my neighborhoods were given ample time to understand the issues surrounding the application, the date of the hearing was changed to February 15.

    A side-by-side comparison.

With the nearly 500+ emails and communications I’ve received (only 1 in support of the change), and the numerous questions and potential negative impacts to my constituency, I am hard pressed to find any reason why I should support a change to the existing comprehensive sign plan at this time. The following registered neighborhood organizations in District 1 are officially opposing the sign plan amendment:

  • Berkeley United Neighbors
  • Federal Boulevard Partnership
  • Inspiration Point Neighborhood Association
  • Jefferson Park United Neighbors
  • Sloans Lake Citizen Group
  • Sloans Lake Neighborhood Association
  • West Colfax Association of Neighbors
  • West Highlands Neighborhood Association

Therefore, I am requesting of Planning Board members that they consider these potential negative impacts on neighbors in the immediate surrounding area. I also ask that you consider the overall message that such a change could send to future sponsors as well. If we continue to make exceptions and changes on approved plans that have gone to great measures by involving professionals and community members in the process in order to come to an agreement, then we’ve undermined all of the hard work that’s gone into such a process. I do not believe that is a precedent we ought to be setting.

I also ask that you consider the intent of the initial comprehensive sign plan as it was approved, which as I understand it was never to have signage placed above its current location. I appreciate your time and consideration as you deliberate over this significant issue regarding Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Sincerely,

 Susan K. Shepherd, Councilwoman

Denver City Council District One

cc: Denver City Councilmembers

District 1 RNO Presidents

Michael Sapp, Mayor’s Office

State Representatives Crisanta Duran & Dan Pabon

Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com