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Darien restaurant to add electronic sign to attract customers

A Darien restaurant won City Council approval Monday to add an electronic message board to its Cass Avenue signage.

Chuck’s Southern Comforts Café and Banquets, 8025 Cass Ave., plans the electronic message board below a portion of its existing roadside sign that reads “Chateau Orleans Banquets.” The changeable message board will measure about 2.6-by-10 feet, which will boost the overall area of the sign from 60 square feet to 81 square feet.

Restaurant owner Jim Pine had wanted to change the sign’s electronic message as often as every three to 10 seconds. However, the variation granted by the City Council Monday night stipulates that each message must be maintained for a minimum of 60 seconds. Also, messages must change all at once and must maintain a constant light intensity or brightness. The code does not permit blinking or flashing lights or any change in light intensity.

While Pine appeared before the City Council to seek the variance, aldermen were more interested in learning how his nearly year-old business was faring in a location that has seen multiple businesses over the past decade.

“The banquet business is starting to catch on. I’d say we have about 20 wedding (receptions) scheduled for the rest of this year, and the electronic sign should help us,” Pine said.

Pine also said the canopy near the entrance of his restaurant/banquet hall operation was struck by a vehicle recently, marking the third time this has happened.

“There’s a sign on there that says it’s an 8-foot clearance, but it’s really 9 feet,” Pine said. The most recent damage to the canopy was caused by a minibus that was dropping off people at the restaurant last week.

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