Hollister sign installation stopped

Workers were told to halt by a city employee who knew nothing about the project.
The second half of the sign is taken away until the city resolves the issue. Photo by John Chadwell.
The second half of the sign is taken away until the city resolves the issue. Photo by John Chadwell.
The installation was almost completed when a city employee said she knew nothing about it and told workers to stop. Photo by John Chadwell.

As Jeremy Vanderkraats, owner of Prunedale-based Signs by Van was installing the new “Hollister” sign at the intersection of San Benito and Fifth streets, he ran into a case of one city department not knowing what another city department was doing. The new sign was halfway erected when a city employee held up her business card and told him, according to Vanderkraats, “This is my authorization to tell you to stop.” 

He said she went to say “stop what you’re doing. I have no idea what you guys are doing. I haven’t seen any plans. I don’t even know what the sign’s supposed to look like. What are you doing here installing it?”

The south-facing sign was still on the ground waiting to be hoisted and attached to the frame.  Vanderkraats said the Hollister City Council approved the sign design and the $236,750 price tag four months ago. It was supposed to be erected during the city’s 150th anniversary but was delayed, according to Vanderkraats, by the city’s engineering department, who asked for a number of changes.

“We then took those changes and they were written into the plans,” he said as the second sign was being hauled away behind him to hopefully be brought back in a day or two so he could complete the installation. “We resubmitted the plans to the engineers and they gave us a full sign-off and we were okay to proceed. We had the structure fabricated and here we are roughly three and a half to four months later installing the sign and we had an issue (today) with, I believe, the planning department or building department. She came out and said she was unaware of any plans being checked or approved through the City Council.”

Neither the city employee nor City Manager Brett Miller responded to BenitoLink for comment. 

Vanderkratts said he believes there will be “secondary internal discussions” concerning the sign.

“They have the plans being sent off to check and that should take two days and then they’ll get that back,” he said. “They’ll be able to review it to make sure that it was compliant. And then if we have the go-ahead, it’s a simple encroachment permit and this should be squashed fairly quickly.”


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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]