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Design Review Panel kills Pet Food sign plan

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Sonoma Valley Center – home of Sonoma Market – is getting new tenants, relocating others and continuing its ongoing facelift.

But its new sign program has barely had time to weather and changes are already afoot.

Pet Food Express, taking over the old space vacated by Patt’s Copy World and two additional spaces, wanted a sign as large as Sonoma Market’s, but needed a false parapet to mount it on.

The Design Review and Historic Preservation Commission stuck to the center’s original program Tuesday, approving the sign, but nixing the parapet, which would have made it look even larger. That means it must be mounted in another way, reduced in size, or mounted directly to the roof.

“Sonoma Market’s sign is attached to a wall,” said Commissioner Robert McDonald. “You are creating a false parapet, just to attach your sign to it.”

Commissioner Kelso Barnett was more to the point. “The parapet changes the architectural style of the building,” he said. “What we’d be doing is approving a big box parapet to put a sign on. My preference is to approve the sign as proposed, but mount it on the roof.”

Several people spoke on the issue, expressing their pleasure at having this business in the shopping center. Nancy King, executive director of Pets Lifeline, said she supported the business because of its track record in helping pets and pet organizations. Pet Food Express has 53 stores in the Bay Area.

Commissioners made a point to say the issue was not about the business, which can go into a retail space by right. It was the signage. Overall, they were pleased by exterior modifications that they had suggested to the applicant at a previous meeting.

They were also happy with changes being made to the old Redwood Credit Union space that will be occupied by Scandia Bakery. The relocating tenant will take out the ATM, replacing it with a window. The bank is going into the old Blockbuster space, and bank officials appeared before the commission a few months back.

In other matters, the commission approved:

• A temporary construction sign for Williams Sonoma.

• New details brought by architect Vic Conforti for three new units to be built in the rear of 830 Broadway.

• Signs for the Flahive Building at 1051 Broadway.

• And a 363-square-foot addition to a historic structure on Second Street East.