Santa Barbara- S County

Historic Landmarks Commission votes in favor of Institution Ale's neon sign

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Institution Ale may be allowed to keep a controversial neon sign at its Santa Barbara location after all.

On Wednesday, the Historic Landmarks Commission voted 5-2 to allow the sign, which is located inside the brewery on State Street.

The sign violates the city's sign ordinance, but the commission said it still fits the historic nature of the building.

The neon sign sparked some controversy earlier this summer when the brewery asked for an exemption to the ordinance.

At the time, Mayor Cathy Murillo told KEYT that making an exception for one neon sign could lead to other exceptions in the future, which could change the entire look of the city.

A consultant for the brewery, however, argued the city needed to be as business friendly as possible when there were vacancies on State Street. Many customers and residents sided with the brewery at the time, also saying the city should do what it can to help the business be successful.

The decision can be appealed to the city council within the next five days.

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