The recent saving of the iconic Citgo sign in Kenmore Square is being universally hailed as the saving of a true Boston landmark. Had it been taken down, thousands of people would be aimlessly wandering the city trying to find Fenway Park on game days. The publicity surrounding the saving of the Citgo sign has brought the issue of how to obtain commercial sign approval in Boston to the forefront.
The epicenter of this issue is the Seaport, where new buildings and signs are rapidly filling in the skyline (Vertex, GE, PwC, etc.). Such prominent signs were next to impossible to get approved under the Menino administration. While certainly easier to obtain approval under the Walsh administration, the city has not established extensive approval criteria and reviews sign requests on a case by case basis. Unfortunately, this case by case review is causing a condition known as “sign envy” that can only be cured by having a sign visible from Mars. Stay tuned.