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Crowd Tells Chuck: Turn Down The Light

Chuck E. Cheese's LED signs comes under fire in Springfield.

Evie Dougherty has accepted a renovated Chuck E. Cheese's location on Baltimore Pike in Springfield. But the Edgewood Road resident says LED signs along Andrew Road go too far.

"If I wanted to live on the boardwalk I'd move to Ocean City. This just isn't right," she said.

Although the Springfield Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a building sign at the renovated Chuck E. Cheese's location Thursday night, neighbors showed up in protest of proposed LED signs, delaying a final decision.

Debbie Stellar, from Texas-based Starlite Sign, secured approval for a 9-foot-by -11-foot sign mounted on the Baltimore Pike side. After learning of residents' opposition, she requested more time to address concerns.

"We're Chuck E. Cheese's sign company, and they always do a good job working with neighbors," she said.

The business is well into a renovation along Baltimore Pike and has begun hiring. In addition to a building sign, Chuck E. Cheese's wants illuminated signs with LED lights. 

Several neighbors from surrounding streets made their concerns known to the ZBA Thursday—many points revolved around the neighborhood's residential make-up.

Chuck Smith, who lives beyond the property on Glendale Circle, said tree leaves block the Chuck E. Cheese's view half of the year but the store becomes very visible in winter months.

"This business is already coming much closer to my property. When we talk about LED-lit signs... it's making a bad situation even worse," he said.

Francis King lives on Andrew Road and would have a direct view of the lit sign.

"They put up a nice building, and that's fine, but why do we need all these signs?"

King and Dougherty drew applause after their remarks. A main point Dougherty made involved comparing the Springfield location to other Chuck E. Cheese's.

Other stores "are in huge shopping centers, but this is in a residential area... I don't know where you live, but that's not why people are coming to Springfield," she said.

One possible suggested solution called for permitting illuminated signs along the busy Baltimore Pike and restricting lighting on Andrews Road.

The ZBA will decide Oct. 25 if the children's entertainment center with 500 international locations will get its lights.

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