Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County Commission denies request for taller Microtel Inn and Suites sign

BROOKSVILLE — When the Microtel Inn and Suites near Interstate 75 and Cortez Boulevard got its permanent sign eight months after opening last year, walk-in business soared 35 percent.

That's the proof officials with the new Microtel behind the Outback Steakhouse on Commercial Way in Spring Hill hoped would sway the Hernando County Commission to permit them to erect a larger and taller sign than the county's rules allow.

But the specter of Commercial Way someday looking like stretches of U.S. 19 in Pasco County stopped the plan short last week.

Commissioners turned down the request for a variance that would have allowed the motel to put up a 150-square-foot sign 40 feet into the air. The rules allow only a 50-square-foot sign reaching 25 feet high.

Company representative Tim Wainscott argued that a hardship existed because the steak house and a two-story building for an adjacent storage business blocked the view from U.S. 19 to the Microtel. A slope that put the motel lower than the frontage road between Outback and the Microtel and trees on an adjacent lot also blocked the view, he said.

"With this type of business, for them to know that you're there, they have to see you there," Wainscott said. "That's why you've got to have a sign you can see. Without that visibility, you won't have the draw. Our target is missed.

"We don't only lose, but the county loses tax money."

Commissioner John Druzbick questioned whether the county permits some sort of signage for frontage roads, but zoning administrator Gary Fisher said that the current rules didn't allow him to recommend a variance for Microtel. Druzbick said the county needs to look into the issue.

Commissioner Jim Adkins wondered whether approving the variance would set a precedent and lock the commission into future approvals. County Attorney Garth Coller told him that danger existed.

Several residents came to the podium to point out that the owners of the motel knew they were buying property on a frontage road rather than U.S. 19 — property with lower visibility, but cheaper land.

Former County Commissioner June Ester, who helped craft the sign ordinance during her tenure, said the rules were designed the way they were intentionally.

"We did this all for a reason," Ester said. "We drove on U.S. 19 in Pasco and used this as an example of what we did not want in Hernando County. … This was all well thought out 15 years ago."

Even if a business were allowed to put up a larger, taller sign because of its location, "if you were driving along on 19, you'd only see the sign for two seconds," said resident Anthony Palmieri.

Druzbick said that he agreed with Ester. The ordinance should be followed or adjusted. The commission voted down the variance unanimously.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando County Commission denies request for taller Microtel Inn and Suites sign 08/01/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 3:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101