WJLA TV's site plan amendment request will go before the County Board on March 15. WJLA has requested 4 signs and News Channel 8 has requested one sign. The following is a list of the signs:
* A rooftop sign on 1100 Wilson (250.25 square feet)
* A projecting sign facing N Lynn Street (6' x 6' = 36 square feet)
* A flat against the building sign (not rooftop) located on 1000 Wilson boulevard on the eastern edge of the building, right before you get on Route 110 (83.25 square feet).
* In addition, WJLA has requested an electronic message sign (165' x 2.25' = 371 square feet) with a jumbo tron screen (13.6' x 9.5'= 129.2 square feet).
* News Channel 8 requested a sign in the electronic message sign (7.33' x 4.33' = 31.7 square feet)
Total sign area proposed (including rooftop sign) = 901.4 square feet
The WJLA sign request will go before the board during its March meeting. I've discussed this matter further with county staff, and it sounds like the proposed signage would be a significant departure -- whether for good or for ill -- from anything that the county has previously approved anywhere. In particular, the large message board would be new for Arlington, and people may well have mixed feelings about this. I understand that some on the County Board have expressed enthusiasm for the concept, reasoning that it could give the area a "Times Square" type vibrancy. Many North Rosslyn members were enthusiastic about the prospect of achieving that sort of vibrancy when the issue of a blue-lit sign on the Twin Towers came up. It is also worth noting that WJLA intends to use this sign to present news headlines and information, which may be useful and interesting to the community, rather than mere commercial advertisement. On the other hand, there are certainly some in our community who are concerned about the dignity and appropriateness of large electronic signage. Additionally, there may be a traffic safety issue, to the extent that significant streaming information is projected above passing traffic. However, county staff seem to think that the sign placement would be arranged in such a way as to reduce traffic distraction and accident. Based on prior North Rosslyn community responses to the proposed blue-lit sign, I suspect that most people in our neighborhood would be open to the vitality that this proposed signage would bring to the Twin Towers area. Given its significance to the image of Rosslyn, however, as well as its potential precedential impact for other commercial interests that might propose similar signs, I think that input from others in the community would be useful.
I have recently reviewed photographs of the proposed signage, and it looks a lot better than I had expected -- actually, quite vibrant and interesting. Also, I have spoken with county staff and been assured that the signs will be placed in such a way as to virtually eliminate traffic distractions.
The County is requesting our input on the proposed WJLA sign ASAP. As of this morning, we have received no adverse comments; and some of us think that it could be a positive addition. If you have thoughts on this, please let me know, either through a posting or a phone call, by COB today.
Based on comments from several members, North Rosslyn informed county staff that it has no objections to the proposed WJLA signs. In fact, some people have commented that the proposed signs may be a nice improvement for the Twin Towers area.
Once again, WJLA is seeking the County's approval to make some changes to one of their signs. I am trying to get additional details, but it sounds preliminarily as if they want only a small increase in the size of one of the signs. Most people I have spoken with have been very pleased with WJLA's presence in Rosslyn, including its highly visible signs. If anyone has any issues with WJLA, now is the time to let me know. Otherwise, when we get the details on their request, I suspect that we will have no objections.