EFFINGHAM — The Effingham Zoning Board of Appeals approved two variance requests this week pertaining to signage changes at a hotel and construction of an accessory building for residential property.

Mark Wildbur with Beta Hotel Property told the zoning board Marriott is changing its logo or branding on all of its hotels, which includes the Fairfield Inn & Suites at 1111 North Henrietta St. in Effingham.

“We just want to replace the signage that is currently there with the same-size signage with the new logo on it,” said Wildbur.

Even though the size of the signage is the same, new city regulations since the signs were originally erected require the business to request variances in order to be in compliance today.

The property has different signs, including a pylon sign that stands 15 feet high; an entrance sign on Henrietta Street, and a secondary entrance sign; as well as signage on the building.

In all, the hotel was granted four variances. The pylon sign exceeds the maximum sign area for a B-5 Highway Commercial District by 85 feet, although the new sign is slightly smaller than the existing one. Also granted was another free-standing sign that exceeds the height of 26 feet allowed in this area, at 40 feet. The third variance is to allow the freestanding sign to exceed area size from allowable 72 square feet to 200 square feet, which is what the hotel currently has. Finally, the hotel wants to change out the additional freestanding sign, which is currently limited to one.

“We aren’t asking for any more than what’s already there,” said Wildbur, when asked by City Attorney Tracy Willenborg about all of the specifications to the signs.

Willenborg clarified to the board that because the changes were needed, the variances were requested to come into compliance with today’s regulations in order to allow the comparable-sized signs to be erected.

In another request, property owners Brent and Kera Emmerich sought a variance for a storage building at 4 Woodbird Drive, Effingham.

Brent Emmerich told the board he was requesting a variance for the construction of an accessory building at a maximum size of 1,440 square feet and at a maximum height of 22 feet. The allowable maximum area is 1,200 square feet and allowable maximum height for the R-1 Single-Family district is 20 feet.

“We are wanting to build an additional garage, detached from our house, for additional storage of things like a car and boat, small tractor and mower and other accessories,” said Emmerich.

The front of the new garage would match the house on Woodbird Drive, he added.

Currently, the Emmerichs are using a carport to protect the mower and tractor and would like to eliminate that once the garage is built. They would also like to move some earth around for better drainage at their home. The property includes about 3.5 acres of land.

Board members questioned Emmerich about possible view blockage and it was deemed there would be none due to the location of the property.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138.


Dawn Schabbing is a senior reporter at the Effingham Daily News, covering Effingham City Hall, Unit 40, and special projects. A graduate of Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University with degrees in journalism, she lives in Neoga.

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