BZA members judged the McDonald's sign request less generously.
Mark Mox, a Pittsburgh consultant, said the fast-food chain is completely changing the appearance of its stores by removing the familiar red mansard-style roofs and the attached signs.
Smaller signs would be attached to the walls of the restaurant, Mox said -- one spelling out the McDonald's name, two with just the "double-arch M" logo.
Although smaller, the new signs still would exceed the maximum square-footage allowed under existing zoning rules by about 10 square feet. Mox said the signs are needed to help customers find the restaurant.
BZA Chairman Steve Mallory seemed skeptical.
"I understand you're rebranding," he said, "but it's also something that's very recognizable."
Brannon recommended against the request, saying there was no real hardship as required by zoning law. McDonald's is free to cover up to 25 percent of its windows with signage, she said. And the restaurant is home to the tallest pole sign in the city -- far taller than allowed under existing law -- which would not be affected by the request or its denial.
BZA members rejected the request unanimously.
Mox said the next step is up to McDonald's.
"It's very unfortunate," he said. "It's rare we even have a problem reducing signage on our buildings."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.