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February 18, 2013

Blocked by other eateries, McDonald's asks for new sign

DANVERS — The fate of the newest McDonald’s in town may hinge on its getting permission to relocate a sign along Endicott Street as it vies with Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Burger King for instant recognition and a bite of your wallet.

The three other fast-food restaurants have signs and buildings that block the eastbound view of the newcomer along the busy commercial strip that includes the Liberty Tree Mall across the street.

Representatives for the town’s fourth McDonald’s have asked the Zoning Board of Appeals for permission to take down a 20-foot-tall “pylon” sign that sits to one side of the restaurant and replace it with a shorter, 12-foot-tall “monument” sign.

The new sign would have a brick base and an electronic signboard and would occupy a parking space at the front of the eatery. Both the old sign and the new one would have the same area: 80 square feet. The new sign, while 8 feet shorter than the existing one, would be more visible to drivers along Endicott Street.

“As you are aware, the success of the quick-serve restaurant business relies largely on being instantly recognized by traffic passing the site,” McDonald’s engineering firm, Bohler Engineering of Southborough, wrote in a letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals seeking a variance for the new sign.

“Since opening, however,” according to Bohler’s letter, “McDonald’s has experienced sales numbers significantly lower than anticipated. They attribute this directly to hindered visibility, as competitors have signs and buildings much closer to the road than McDonald’s.”

The board did not vote on the variance request at a meeting Feb. 11, but continued the matter to Feb. 25. Building Inspector Richard Maloney said board members would like to see what the new sign would look like before granting approval.

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