CREATED Sep. 18, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep. 18, 2012
NAPLES, Fla. - At Naples Plaza, on the corner of US 41 and Golden Gate Parkway, the currently under construction Publix - just received approval to install a sign that is more than twice the size of what the City of Naples allows.
"Our city council just approved a variance to have a larger sign than what's allowed by our code," said Adam Benigni, a senior development planner for the city.
The new Publix sign will be 150-square feet, instead of the usual 80-square foot maximum that is allowed under city code.
Since then, other stores sought permission to install larger signs such as the PGA Superstore on the north end of the shopping center.
Mom and pop stores in Naples Plaza are taking note of the change and say they will consider asking the city for a similar change.
"Your sign should be based on the square footage of your store frontage," said Jason Gibson, owner of Rita's Italian Ice.
Gibson said he lost 30% of his business when renovations began on the Plaza, which includes the construction of a brand new Publix supermarket, and upgrades to the façade.
John Ariniello, owner of Mulligan’s Sports Bar right next door, said he has experienced a steady decline in business since construction began and said he would not mind a bigger sign to try and recoup sales.
"I think it could help draw some more people in from Route 41," said Ariniello.
The City of Naples considers a variance on a case by case basis, and despite the exception for Publix, would rather keep signs at other businesses the same.
"If you have a large sign for Publix, a large sign for the PBA (Super)store and then one of the restaurants in the plaza asked for a bigger sign and then you have bigger signs... then it just might not look that nice," said Benigni.
So far, no company has submitted a request for a bigger sign.