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Irvine

September 12, 2000|Erika I. Ritchie, (949) 574-4211

After voicing reluctance and distress, planning commissioners broke their stalemate with Verizon Wireless on Thursday and unanimously approved the communication company's sign for the former Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.

"I'm deeply disappointed Verizon hasn't shown itself as a better neighbor," Commissioner Chris Mears said.

Both sides had been at loggerheads over the design for the new 38-foot sign for months, with city officials insisting the word "Irvine" be included in the name of the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

All agreed that the old, dilapidated sign facing the southbound side of the San Diego Freeway needed replacing. But executives with the wireless company, which bought naming rights to the venue, wanted the sign to bear just the Verizon name.

Planning commissioners had some leverage because city codes required their approval on the new 800-square-foot sign, since it exceeded the city's maximum permitted size of 50 square feet. The commission had twice struck down designs that did not include the word Irvine.

The final design includes the city's name, but Irvine is not part of the amphitheater's new name. Instead, Irvine will be scripted in 16-inch letters at the bottom.

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