Dampa Filipino Food Told 'Banner Must Go'

Hidden behind the Chevron station where Castro Valley Boulevard meets Anita Street, Dampa used a banner to attract out-of-town customer -- until sign-rule enforcers said no.


When the Castro Valley Central Business District plan was written two decades ago, who'd have imagined that its rules governing signs would create difficulties for local businesses.

But maybe it's time those rules were revisited as Dampa Filipino Food becomes the second business is the last few weeks to run afould of the sign restrictions on Castro Valley Boulevard.

Patch recently reported how Boulevard Burger was ordered to take down an art deco sign that county officials said violated a rule forbidding displays that rose above the roofline.

Dampa apparently committed a similar transgression.

For about a year the restaurant had used a banner to attract customers to its somewhat hidden location behind the Chevron station.

Maria Calalo, who runs Dampa with her husband Chef Sunthie, told Patch that their landlord recently informed them that the county wanted the banner to come down.

Why Calalo isn't completely sure. Neverteless the owners reluctantly complied.

Their reluctance owed to the fact that the banner had helped solve a problem.

Calalo said locals had little trouble finding the place. But out-of-town customers were getting confused.

When the restaurant's address -- 2960 Castro Valley Boulevard -- is plugged into Google Maps, the instructions direct drivers to the Chevron station. 

But Dampa is a behind the station, bit north of the Boulevard and off to the right of Anita Street.

"Many of our customers are coming from other cities," Calalo said. "The banner helped us a lot to direct customers here."

(Learn more about Dampa in this Patch video by Raymond and Matthew Day.)

Now that the banner no longer flies, how Castro Valley is helped now and how was harmed before?


David Ross February 08, 2013 at 03:00 PM
The Sign Nazis strike again. Reads an article in the CV Forum about these Nazis. After stating that they let "bad signs" slide while the boondoggle called Streetscape, they are now stepping up enforcement. They say it is to keep the area in compliance. However, the real reason - which they won't tell you - is that the permitting process for getting signs is a great money maker for these Nazis.
Dave Coleman February 08, 2013 at 04:01 PM
They say that there is no such thing as bad publicity. This article (the attached video) makes me want to try this restaurant. But "Nazis" ??? Come on now. The county is just enforcing rules already in place. And CV will look better without a lot of tacky signs. Now if we could get rid of the huge billboards...
Danny Baker February 08, 2013 at 04:51 PM
The Blvd Burgers sign added to the look of CV, & the Dampa banner was no big deal. Which county agency is responsible for this? How do we expect any business to open here?
x February 08, 2013 at 05:11 PM
So, does a guy on the corner(s) flipping a sign require a permit?
Alex McMurray February 08, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Great call, Nathan! What I would love to see is our locally elected officials proposing some NEW rules in light of these nitpicky decisions. Admittedly, the county is just enforcing rules, but let's be honest, these "rules" are incredibly S-T-U-P-I-D. Could we please focusing on helping businesses in Castro Valley? This is absurd.
Alex McMurray February 08, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Pardon me .... I mean to write "focus" instead of focusing.
x February 08, 2013 at 07:00 PM
I'm only asking because it makes sense to have to pull a permit ... or pay some sort of advertising fee. You have to pay for an ad in the paper. You have to pay for a radio/tv spot. You have to pay for a giant billboard. So what's the big deal with having to pay to add a banner out front? As a business "renter", you don't own the sidewalks or the parking areas. If you want the spaces directly out front of your business reserved just for you, you have to pay for that right. How is this any different? I do think however that it would be mighty nice of the permit department to discount this fee for 2013 while everyone try's to get back on their feet after the BLVD work.
Stacy Poulos February 08, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Curious how many own businesses? I had a business above Lucas deli. Whats the point of having a business in the boulevard if you can't put up a sign. When these businesses fail, we all fail because the tax money goes away with it. And the stress and burden goes on the people. Stuff your regulations. Stuff your fees. It's bull they put so much on small businesses and fees don't make signs look better or worse. You all are lucky I'm not the Mayor. I do how ever believe the should be classy and the city should help, not hinder since they are going to get tax money from the businesses. Peace, Stacy Poulos
Carolyn Zichterman February 08, 2013 at 09:07 PM
I think the county needs to examine and possibly rewrite the sign rules. Twenty years is a long time ago. Times have changed. There is a different style now, and people need to be able to find restaurants. Castro Valley needs to find that balance between loud signs and informing the public. A hard thing to do.
Charlie Goldie February 08, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Many have commented we need to review the CV Central Business Dist. Plan related to signs. How do we push to get this review? Is the MAC group listening? How do we get them to recommend changes? Time for change! How do we get it started?
Bob Swanson February 08, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Hi Folks, Remember that these rules come from the “Castro Valley Specific Plan”. This plan was written by the citizens and business owners in conjunction with County Planning. The plan is 20 years old and it is being talked about. There are public forums now and more coming. Questions: How much signage is good? When does it become sign clutter? Do new businesses want to come to a sign cluttered community? Should signs be allowed to obstruct walkways? Should lighted signs be inspected for safety? Should the county make sure they are mounted in a safe fashion? We citizens need to think about it and get involved with the planning process and bring your ideas to public meetings. MAC meets three times a month. There is the “Unincorporated Services Committee” which meets monthly. The “Eden Area Livability Initiative II” is starting a new visioning process. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback but it requires participation to create a beautiful yet functional community. Please get involved we need your participation. Bob Swanson Supervisor Nate Miley’s Office
Rai W. February 09, 2013 at 05:44 AM
Thanks Bob. Once again your plea for public voices in a non internet forum is stated. People, if you want your voices truly heard, show up to these meetings. Someone once said "The world is run by those who show up".
Shirley February 09, 2013 at 08:33 AM
I think the guys standing on the corners flipping those signs are tacky, so are the Tax balloons that jump up and down and all around advertising that Tax business is like a circus and pretty low class, but the little colorful Dampa banner was nice, and had a very good purpose for that hard to find restaurant, Give them a break re-think that please. Make it easier for them to make a living instead of these picky reasons that are out dated.
David Ross February 09, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Reasonable regulations are good. Alameda County, and the state, for that matter, does not have reasonable regulations. Other states, such as Texas, Nevada, South Dakota, and many others, do have reasonable regulations. That's why many businesses are moving out of state, regardless of what the immoral and stupid governor Moonbeam says. (Immoral because he should never have been allowed to run for governor after having already served 2 terms. Of course, the voters in California are so afraid of getting a non-Democrat elected official that they voted the fool in.)
Charlie Goldie February 11, 2013 at 03:47 PM
I will!
Bob Swanson February 11, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Great! If you are going to attend the MAC meeting tonight you will have 3 minutes to speak on any subject not on the current agenda. You need to fill out a speaker card and give it to the county staff person. You can ask the MAC board to put your subject matter on a future agenda for discussion. The MAC is governed by the Brown Act and cannot discuss any issue that is not on the agenda. Bob Swanson Supervisor Nate Miley’s Office
sandra dawson May 05, 2013 at 12:06 AM
I personally do not like the sign banners that are popping up all over San Lorenzo. Everywhere u look there is either someone dancing with a sign or banners in front of businesses. I don''t know when this started; but I wish the county would take them all down. I think they are visual pollution.


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