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Tesla wins approval for new signs

Original post made on Dec 19, 2013

Three days after Palo Alto officials approved a large, illuminated sign for the Grocery Outlet store at Alma Village, the city's architectural board granted another sign exemption to a local company whose brand is all too well known.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 19, 2013, 9:59 AM

Comments (37)

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Posted by Scott
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

The Tesla brand is "all too well known"? That's needless editorializing in what's supposed to be a news article, not an opinion piece.


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Posted by Jane
a resident of University South
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:37 am

The continued adoption of massive buildings, regardless of whether they are glass or traditional, now huge signs, are most definitely changing the feel and traditions of our town - and these few current officials and council members have no right to do that - even after the irate public has made its point with an election.


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Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

Has Lee Lippert and the rest of the Architectural Review Board ever seen an oversized building or an oversized sign they didn't like? When is an ARB that reflects the tastes of the community and respects the zoning code going to be appointed?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Allen Edwards
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

Anything to support these high sales tax generating budinesses. Autos generate some of the highest tax revenue for out city. A small price to pay for a healthy city.


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Posted by ARB violates zoning again
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

Lee Lippert never met an oversized development or project that he didn't praise. Zoning is just a nuisance. Something to be overcome.
He really likes Ken Hayes bloated glass boxes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

If the council can approve a huge ugly a$$ sign for Alma Plaza, they BETTER approve one on El Camino!
At least we know Tesla has good looking logo's and signage!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

As much as this is probably big and ugly, it is better on El Camino rather than anywhere else.

The big problem and one that we have been saying all along, is that the precedent is now set. Of course every store on ECR will want one and very soon ECR will look like Las Vegas. The other aspect of this is that parts of ECR are looking so neglected and dark, this will add to that and then crime and bad guys activities will go hand in glove.

Now is the time for CC to actively spruce up the dark, derelict areas of ECR and I don't mean by doing another Rickeys Hyatt job!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Double standards
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

I'd like to see these kinds of decisions made in the insulated, protected, northeast high-end residential section of Palo Alto that is rarely touched by high-density development, ugly huge signs, disappearing street trees and reduced set-backs. I'd like to see them put a medium density affordable housing project in THAT neighborhood--with big signs and reduced setbacks, 3-stories, and tandem parking.

Why are people frustrated? Double standards.


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Posted by whatdoesitlooklike
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:14 am

There must have been pictures or mock-ups presented to the arch board. Where can we see them?


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Posted by member
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

"Collectively, they would exceed the allowed 100-square-foot sign area in the sign code. "

My math tells me the two signs add up to 66 sq ft.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

There must be a lot of youngsters posting.

Signs were commonly lots bigger in the 60's. (IIRC there were even billboards (like the Freeway) along ECR.) The sign ordinances hit back hard.
Lower, lots lower. (Anyone remember the All American sign on the Poles?)
And way Smaller Too.
Many were grandfathered... Until... they needed a Building permit for 'anything'.


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Posted by Smells musk-y here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

So the ARB violates the rules again, huh? How long is this illicit behavior going to go on? Why are they trying to make Palo Alto look cheap and tacky? What benefit does the ARB get from making themselves look like scofflaws and making this city look cheesy?

[Portion removed.]

BTW, I own a Tesla S, and it is unbelievable how the sale is rigged so that if you want to upgrade anything on the car, before or after-market, you HAVE to buy it through Tesla! Also, no other tires, steering wheels, etc will fit on a Tesla other than Tesla's own brands. To add injury to insult, I am being nickel and domed to death by repairs every 3-4 weeks! I would think Elon Musk would be on debt from all the payouts on his warranties for these unreliable cars!


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Then why did you buy the car? No one to blame here...


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

And so it starts....."If he can get an oversized sign, then I need an oversized sign"

And "Smells musk-y here", have you ever bought anything from Apple? They spent years only allowing their proprietary add-ons, and mostly still do. It's the way it goes.


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Posted by suggestion
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I recommend reading up the raft of legitimate news articles about the proprietor of this company and his dealings with wives, girlfriends, co-CEO's, co-workers, co-investors and etc. to see what this person is like. Breathtaking. I sympathize with the other parties in each case. I assume he makes certain he can get whatever he likes. I would never do business with such a person. Never, never, never. Nor should government officials bend the rules and grant any variances to him.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm

City to Measure D: "Watch the birdie"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Let me count the ways
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Why do we have rules?
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

As Karen Holman said in Council last week: "Can anyone tell me why we have rules. Can you?"

For the majority of Palo Alto Council, Commissions and Staff, our policies and ordinances simply don't matter. They find ways around them that may or may not be legal.

The citizens of Palo Alto must elect new Council Members in 2014 that represent the public. Karen Holman represents the public and is often one of the two or three minority votes to uphold our rules. Vote AGAINST Scharff, Shepherd, Price!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

> Our current Mayor had his inauguration held at Tesla HQ.
> Astonishing but true.

Web Link

"We are not waiting for the future to make progress as this is the 'year of the future' and the future is now," Scharff told a crowd of more than 100 people who gathered for his speech at electric carmaker Tesla Motors' cavernous headquarters in the Stanford Research Park.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Seems it was the 2013 State of the City Address.

Wonder how many tit-for-tats were traded before Tesla told old "the building is the benefit" Mayor Greg to "come on down"?


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Posted by winning
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

SteveU,

"There must be a lot of youngsters posting....Signs were commonly lots bigger in the 60's."

and advertising was also in the newspaper

The streets are going to look like a busy webpage, full of advertising.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

This is just another example that Palo Alto lacks a revenue strategy.

Signs that do not conform to current zoning laws? Flavor of the week.

Such a vibrant city should have a revenue strategy in place in order to support the community. I have suggested this before, and mine is a lonely voice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

After the new ScharffPriceShepherd-less council is elected next year, it needs to do a massive reorg of the ARB.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

"they're struggling as they're losing their automobile usages."
I don't understand what that means.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm

City council is trying to emulate Daly City with all the high density development, and Las Vegas with all the exceptions given to these signs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm

What is the approval for ... so the sign can shoot out roaring flames to draw attention to itself!? ;-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Smells musk-y here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

@Crescent Park Dad: Consumer Reports rated the car very highly; the salespeople assured us that ALL the bugs had been worked out. Talked to other owners who raved about it. Only NOW that it is proving to be a lemon are other Tesla owners admitting that their cars are in the shop as much or more than they are in it.

@Dan: that's why. I did not buy Apple products until recently. Problem is Tesla withheld a lot of information until the last minute, after we had put down a 50% deposit, our credit checked out and the car was already ordered!

Now, if I. Decide to sell it, I am finding That no other car dealer will take it on a trade-in!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Smells musky here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I forgot to mention: the "custom Tesla tires" are very thin-walled, will pop if you park to close to a curb.

So why should this Elon Musk guy, who sells faulty cars for big bucks to trusting consumers, be allowed some huge mega-sign that is clearly against regulations?

Why is the ARB breaking the law and getting away with it? Shouldn't they be prosecuted like anyone else who knowingly breaks the law?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Can we see what it looks like
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Is there somewhere to see an image of what this will look like?

In this age, everything should show the image - city reports are usually text only and you have to go to City Hall to see an image. It's hard to tell if this was a good outcome or a bad one.

Grocery Outlet was clearly bad


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kevin LaRouee
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Dec 20, 2013 at 6:20 am

Gimme a break. Large signs so these evil fire cars can be promoted and sold to dumb people. Why is Palo Alto standing for this kind of thing. Allowing a company to take advantage or codes and laws to brutally bring site pollution to residents is unfair and ill-conceived. Was someone paid off for this decision? Someone will regret making this special accommodations down the road, and voters will not be kind to the elected official found with his/her hand in the cookie jar.


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Posted by Concerned Gunn Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2013 at 7:12 am

El Camino and Arastadero is a busy commute corridor. I am concerned that the sign will limit visibility or be distracting to commuters in the area.

Its hard enough to go by that corner without wondering what new, exciting car will be out on the lot or in the showrooms. I don't think that a sign is needed in Palo Alto. This seems like visual pollution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jacob
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm

"Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

If the council can approve a huge ugly a$$ sign for Alma Plaza, they BETTER approve one on El Camino!
At least we know Tesla has good looking logo's and signage!"

City staff had to schedule the consideration of the Grocery Outlet sign prior to the Architectural Review Board hearing on the Tesla sign.

If the Tesla sign was approved prior to the meeting about the Grocery Outlet sign, then the City Council would have had to decide whether a discount grocer that has a different customer base than Tesla deserved a larger sign than Tesla got even though Tesla has wealthier customers than Grocery Outlet.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

It's a total visual assault in Palo Alto - the poor commercial sign control
and now exceptions, the ugly buildings, and lastly the unbelievable sign clutter put up by the City in both commercial and residential street corridors, along with yellow and red paint. Every day there is more paint and more signs, making Palo Alto streetscapes the ugliest seen anywhere.






 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

" Every day there is more paint and more signs, making Palo Alto streetscapes the ugliest seen anywhere. "

Care to exaggerate a little more resident?. Ugliest anywhere?..
That is why the constant whining, complaining and general negative comments made on this forum can be ignored.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

@Rupert of henzau
I made that comment with consideration. I stand by it. Drive east on
Channing from Waverley to Middlefield. Notice the 6 large Crosswalk
signs on a single block, the Senior Facility sign approaching the Webster intersection, the four flashing lights at the intersection, and the sign in the intersection. This is in a residential area. Tell me where you have seen anything like this anywhere else, domestic or foreign country. I am
not aware of any accident history at that intersection which would prompt
any kind of drastic makeover of the intersection. What the City did not do
is make it a 4-way stop which would probably make it safer than it is now
with all the signs.


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Posted by Pants on fire...
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm

According to the Post, ARB chairman Lippert said: "We want citizens to come forward and tell us their thoughts and feelings about it." [the Tesla sign]
Mr.Lippert apparently hasn't listened to the people who have spoken to the ARB, to the Planning Commission, and to the Council. And he hasn't read the letters to the editor in all the newspapers or on this Town Square.
So he wants us to let him know what we think.
I think that Mr.Lippert is playing a game with us and we do not like it.


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