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Have Wall Signs gone too far?

Original post made by Just Wondering on Feb 1, 2013

Driving around Palo Alto, there are cases of huge wall signs that look like they violate the city's sign ordinance. The most obvious one is on 2 sides of the JCC. The banner signs have proliferated and have gotten much larger. It is bad enough that the building is ugly but now we are subjected to constant advertising signs and "offers" of discounts. Isn't there a law against this kind of advertising? If not, there should be.

The City of Palo Alto sign ordinance limits wall banners to a maximum of 203 square feet. I think the signs up at the JCC are larger on Charleston, where there are 2 huge banners.

Comments (12)

Posted by ugliest building in Palo Alto, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:38 am

Even without the signs, this is the ugliest building in Palo Alto by far. From the street, it looks more like a prison than a community center. What kind of message does that send to our kids?


Posted by Time to whine about the JCC again, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Here we go again--complaints about the JCC.
When will people get over it??? The building went through all the reviews and comment periods--time to move on. If you think the building is ugly, well, too bad. Everyone is entitled to their opinion--I feel that the homes in Professorvile and the Cheesecake Factory downtown are ugly--but you know what, nothing can be done about it, So i do not constantly complain about them.

Here is a link to the sign ordinance:
Web Link

If you think they are in violation, file a complaint with the city.

"Even without the signs, this is the ugliest building in Palo Alto by far."
And???? Don't patronize the JCC if you find the place so offensive

"From the street, it looks more like a prison than a community center. What kind of message does that send to our kids?"
Do you have a point??? Don't send your kids there. The place seems to be doing okay. Most people either have no problems with the building or have gotten over it. Where were you when the building was going through the planning stages?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I agree that the signs are unsightly and often wondered if they are legal.

Thank you for the link to the code on the City website. Unfortunately, I am afraid that I can't work out whether the JCC signs are legal or not as I am no expert in legalese and other unknown factors such as how this area is zoned.

Is there someone out there reading this who can comment from an unbiased point of view. Perhaps someone with an architectual or legal background.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2013 at 9:14 am

I find the bulk, color, and look of the JCC building to be very unappealing, however the landscaping has helped a little bit, over time.I think it's important the city insist on landscaping of these large buildings.


Posted by Whiner, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm

We will get over the ugly JCC when we do not have to look at it anymore. It is so on your face, it fills your vision from afar. Who in the name of Jehovah let the plans for this monstrosity go through? I t like a huge tumor on the landscape, or a huge wart on the face of a beautiful woman. UGH!


Posted by Get over it, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm

So whiner--- do not look at it. Considering where it is located I am not sure how much from afar you can actually see it!! As for who let it through-- the ARB, the planning commission, the city council and the citizens of palo alto. Where we're you? Do you reAlly hate the JCC or just the J in the name


Posted by Whiner, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm

@get over it : please do not be paranoid. My father was a Jew. However, I was not living in a part of Palo Alto, at the time it was proposed, where I would have seen it. Now that we have downsized, I drive by it daily. There is no getting around it; it is ugly and obtrusive, and too close to the sidewalk. When you are stuck at the stoplight at Fabian Way going westbound on Charleston, you cannot avoid it unless you close your eyes! It was a big mistake.


Posted by Get over it, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Yes, life is tough, whiner. You may be stopped at the light at Fabian and have to see the JCC. What a tragedy. Having to drive by t,he JCC everyday and seeing it. Isn't there another route you an take?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Get over it, you are unable to see reason.

Regardless of the name of the building or whatever goes on there or whoever owns it, it is an ugly facade for those who view it every day and the advertising banners appear to be too big.

I don't know what your problem is, but you are looking for something that just isn't there. Get over it, you need to get over it.


Posted by Get over it, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 3, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Resident-- I am not sure why there is a constant and steady stream of complaints about the JCC. It went through the entire process and was approved. As for viewing it every day, do you stand for hours and look at it? Or do you drive by it and see it for a few seconds.
As for the banners, if you think tHey are too big, then file a complaint with the city.
The building is there. It will not be rebuilt or torn down. There are plenty of other ugly buildings in the city(cheesecake factory, alma plaza, the homes at charleston and el camino etc), yet we do not hear a word about them, so IMHO the nature of the building is the reason for the complaints.
I suggest that all the complainers just get over it. Time to move on. Really, move on or take another route or do not stand and look at the building.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Get over it.

I agree, there are many other ugly buildings in the city, those you mention are also good candidates.

However, we are talking about the huge banners. None of the other buildings have these huge advertising banners. None of us minded when the building was new, but now that it is established, do they really need to keep these huge banners.

And you are right, I fortunately only see it while I am driving by. But, regardless of what you say, if I am sat at a traffic light, I stare at those banners. I would much rather see some landscaping, some trees with blossom, some floral plantings. Instead I see some larger than life faces advertising what is probably a good service, but I am completely turned off by the advertising. I would love the building to blend into the background and be nothing more than a wall with some attractive landscaping. Instead, I am bombarded with advertising.

If the other ugly buildings had larger than life banners, I would call the banners ugly too.


Posted by Get over it, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I think someone posted a link to the city sign ordinance. From a quick look at it, I see that banners are allowed, but there is a size limit. If you think they are too large, then complain to the city.


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