Shake Shack struggles with ZBA over signage
DARIEN — Shake Shack could learn in May if its redesigned signage is acceptable to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The burger chain first came to the ZBA in November in an effort to open at the site of the former Chuck’s Steak House, 1340 Post Road. But it met resistance due to the size of the signs.
An amended application by Shake Shack and its landlord, Baywater Properties, was submitted April 14.
“Our plan right now is to go back to the ZBA for approval. Our signage proposal was modified slightly in order to address some of the concerns the board had voiced,” said Lou DeAngelis, senior director of construction and facilities at Shake Shack. “But we focused primarily on providing the board with more technical information and the reason why we are looking for signage we are looking for.”
The regulations in place allow for no more than three signs, totaling no more than 46.67 square feet. The requested variance for Shake Shack suggests two signs — three were originally proposed — totaling 50.01 square feet.
The application also included an expert testimony from Richard B. Crawford of Mercer Sign Consultants of Pennsylvania, in which he notes that anything smaller than the suggested letter size in the amended proposal — 22 inches, as opposed to the 24 inches in the draft denied in March by the ZBA — could result in a safety hazard on such a busy corridor of the Post Road.
“Any size below 22” tall letters will not afford drivers enough time and distance to detect the sign, read the sign, and execute a driving maneuver including appropriate indication of turn into the Shake Shack entrance,” Crawford’s report reads.
Not only should Shake Shack be granted the variance, Scott said, the regulations should be amended so as to accommodate currently operating businesses whose signs are inadequate.
“In my opinion, my sign should be bigger,” Scott said. “This is a drive by. If you’re going by at 35 or 40 miles per hour, you’re not going to see the sign.”
Scott also noted the effect felt at Pawprints since Chuck’s went out.
“Having a vacant lot next door has not helped business,” Scott added. “I think Shake Shack fits the image of Darien. There aren’t a lot of family restaurants in town, and I think this would be a family restaurant. Bottom line, I would welcome them with open arms.”
Shake Shack is scheduled to go back in front of the Zoning Board of Appeals sometime in May, DeAngelis said.