Workers remove rooftop HOWS sign

File photo (2012): The HOWS Market sign sits atop the old HOWS Market store where Erewhon is expected to set up shop.Organic grocery store Erewhon Natural Foods Market of Los Angeles is expected to open a Malibu branch at the former HOWS Market location at the Trancas shopping center. 

More than two months after city officials ordered a 167-square-foot HOWS Market billboard be taken down at the Trancas Market Center, the sign is officially gone. 

The sign was apparently removed within the last few days. 

In June, owners of the Trancas center asked the Malibu Planning Commission to allow the sign, along with two others, to be grandfathered into new plans for the center. But the Commission rejected the rooftop billboard, arguing the massive sign was unnecessary for the shopping center.

“You really don’t need very large signs for a center of this type,” commission chair Jeff Jennings said at the June meeting. 

The applicant’s attorney, Clare Bronowski, argued that the former HOWS sign should stay because the shopping center in the past had been known as “Trancas Market” and the sign applied to the center as a whole.

Neighbors ridiculed that argument, maintaining that the rooftop fixture had always displayed the name of a grocery store, not the name of the entire shopping center.

“The sign above the shopping center has always said ‘grocery store,’ it has never said ‘shopping center,’” Malibu West resident Hans Laetz said. “…Yeah, everyone referred to Trancas Market as Trancas Market, but here we’re talking, what did that sign say over the last decades? The sign said grocery, deli, bakery. It said ‘HOWS Trancas Market Deli Bakery,’ there can be no question about that.”