What is the difference between a red Office Depot sign and a red white and blue logo on the building just across the street? The Board of Architectural Review for the Old and Historic District approved one and denied the other.
The Military Officers Association of America has a red white and blue shield that they wanted to place on their building at 201 N. Washington St. The BAR said 'no' because it did not meet the Washington Street guidelines that limits the use of color in signs to stay in keeping with the “memorial character of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.”
Peter Wylie represented MOAA and said to City Council last weekend, “For the past quarter of a century MOAA has been a resident of Alexandria and are a good and generous corporate citizen of the city. What is the difference in our logo and the Home Depot sign across the road that was approved?”
Councilman David Speck wondered the same thing. “So is this sign at Home Depot illegal,” he asked Tom Hulfish who represented the BAR.
Hulfish said that the Home Depot sign had been approved. The explanation from staff was that the Home Depot sign was to attract walk-in traffic and that the sign on the building was white.
“I personally think that the white plastic sign on the Home Depot is much worse than the red, white and blue logo,” said Councilwoman Claire Eberwein. “We need to take a look at the Washington Street guidelines, perhaps.”
Speck made the motion to overturn BAR and allow MOAA to place its red, white and blue logo on the building. “I understand that the BAR is interpreting the guidelines very strictly,” he said. “However, there seems to be some inconsistency here.”
Most of Council agreed. The vote was 5-2 in favor of MOAA, with Councilwoman Joyce Woodson and Councilwoman Redella S. “Del” Pepper voting to uphold the BAR.