Zoning board’s move is next step toward allowing flashing signs

NEW SCOTLAND — At its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26, a majority of the zoning board members expressed skepticism over the planning board’s appeal of Building Inspector Jeremy Cramer’s determination over what constitutes a flashing sign.

The zoning board will not make a final determination until after a public hearing is held, at which time the zoning board can hear comments from the public as well as the planning board, according to Jeffrey Baker, president of the zoning board.

Signs from two different businesses were discussed at the Sept. 26 meeting: One from Hudson Valley Italian Restaurant Inc., owners of Track 32 Italian Pub, and another from James Olsen, who wants to place a sign with a digital-message board at his proposed self-storage facility.

The sign saga began when the owners of Track 32 wanted to install a digital message-board sign, which they were told would be determined to be flashing.

Currently, the town’s zoning code does not allow for flashing signs, but there is no concrete definition of flashing. There is ambiguity in the code. This allows for an interpretation by the town’s building inspector as individual applications come in.

The owners of Track 32 adjusted their plans: The sign would not scroll, would have just two colors, and would change its message only four times per day. After the adjustments, Cramer did not consider the sign to be flashing, and the Track 32 application was allowed to move forward with a special-use permit to the planning board.

The planning board challenged Cramer’s determination, because it wanted a better definition of what constitutes a flashing sign.

At the Sept. 13 town board meeting, Joseph Salvino, owner of Track 32, spoke to the town board about the sign he is seeking. He said, “I’m very frustrated, I’ve been in front of all the boards a number of times.” Salvino said he’s tried to be very accommodating, that he changed the sign a number of times and fulfilled planning board requirements. “I’ve been very patient,” he said.

There’s a stay on the sign application until the zoning board can vote on it, but it can’t vote until a public hearing has been held.

A public hearing has been scheduled for next month. If, after the public hearing, the zoning board determines that the sign is not flashing, the application will then go back to the planning board to start the special-use permit for an illuminated sign.

The planning board would then schedule a public hearing for the special-use permit.

Other business

In other business at its September meeting, the zoning board:

— Approved two variances for Hudson Valley Italian Restaurant Inc. The first variance allows for a new sign to be constructed closer to the road than the code allows, and the second lets the sign to be larger in size than allowed by code;

—  Approved a variance for James Olsen, allowing a new sign to be placed closer to the road; and

— Requested a variance referral from the planning board about an application from Stephan and Karen Lee DiBella, who are seeking a variance for 12 feet of relief to build a garage that would be located 13 feet from their property line. The district has a side setback of 25 feet.



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