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King-size auto dealership sign, exceeding code, gets green light with split vote

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The Ken Garff dealership near 2100 North off I-15 requested three exceptions to the Development Code for a pylon sign. The proposed sign would be 70 feet in height, exceeding the allowable 25 feet.

For the first time in 2021, the Lehi City Planning Commission met in City Council Chambers to hear applicants on Thursday, Feb. 25. Commissioners Bill Hereth and Brent Everett attended remotely. The Commission quickly gave positive recommendations for three out of four agenda items.  A request for code exemptions for a large electronic sign from Ken Garff – Jaguar Land Rover generated discussion and a split decision from the Commission.

“No one driving by is going to see a sign and turn off the freeway to buy a Land Rover on a whim. This sign is an advertisement – a screen to show commercials. The South Towne Auto Mall is much bigger, and their signs are much smaller,”


Lehi Planning Commission Chair, Abram Nielsen

The Ken Garff dealership near 2100 North off I-15 requested three exceptions to the Development Code for a pylon sign. The proposed sign would be 70 feet in height, exceeding the allowable 25 feet. The proposed signage area is 807.75 square feet, which exceeds the typical maximum of 200 square feet allowed in the code. Finally, the electronic display area proposed is 414 square feet, and the code provides for an electronic display using 50% of the allowable sign area. 

Brent Godfrey from Ken Garff argued that the code allows for a 600-square foot sign for each of the three dealerships on the property for a total of 1800-square feet of signage and that Ken Garff is only asking for 800 square feet. 

“The 600-foot signs are by exception, not by right. The code allows for 200-foot signs by right,” said Planning Commission Chair Abram Nielsen.

“You would have to come in and ask for an exception to make all three of those signs tall enough to be seen from the freeway, right? That justification doesn’t jive,” added Commissioner Brent Everett.

“I don’t know what we’ll do if this isn’t approved. We need signage along the freeway. We’ll be back here asking for exceptions no matter what,” Godfrey responded.

“This is a unique scenario, the line of sight from the freeway has changed with I-15 construction. Their hands are somewhat tied,” said Commissioner Matt Hemmert.

“I’m okay with what they’re trying to do. UDOT completely buried them. It wasn’t something they could control,” added Commissioner Jared Peterson.

“The overpass thing is an excuse. It doesn’t obscure that much. No one driving by is going to see a sign and turn off the freeway to buy a Land Rover on a whim. This sign is an advertisement – a screen to show commercials. The South Towne Auto Mall is much bigger, and their signs are much smaller,” said Nielsen.

The motion to give final approval for Yesco’s and Ken Garff’s request for a pylon sign passed with a vote of four to three. Commissioners Nielsen, Everett and Hereth voted against approving the sign. 

The Planning Commission gave unanimous positive recommendations to the following items also on the Feb. 25 agenda:

–         Mike Batt’s request for approval of the Terrace at Traverse Mountain Building B site plan at 1712 West Traverse Parkway.

–         Nicole Worthen’s request for a zone change from TH-5 (transitional holding) to R-1-22 (residential/agriculture) on 2.9 acres at 923 North 2300 West.

–         Thomas Pannell’s request for approval of the Caliber Collision Concept Plan, an automobile and service repair business, at 1746 North Boston Street.

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