Taller sign ok'd for old YMCA site

By unanimous vote, zoning officials Thursday approved plans for a 43-foot sign at the former Modesto YMCA building. Its new owner, In-Shape Health Clubs, had requested an exception to the 35-foot limit for that neighborhood.

As soon as In-Shape receives a building permit, the company can begin what could be a $7 million renovation from a nonprofit health organization to a private fitness club.

Some former YMCA members complained about In-Shape's plan to tear out a wall allowing conversion of a swimming pool from indoor to outdoor.

Its consistent 4½-foot depth made the pool popular with many people, particularly seniors, engaged in rehabilitative exercises, said Jan Sharp. But Modesto Board of Zoning Adjustment members acknowledged having authority over the sign and not the pool.

Escrow closed last week with the YMCA, in debt $2.18 million. In-Shape's real estate agent and YMCA chief volunteer officer Dennis Wilson refused to disclose the purchase price.