Ann Gallelli: More Deliberation Needed on Proposed Sign Law

ann2016To the Editor,
At the Board meeting of Monday, February 6, proposed changes in the Village Code regarding temporary signs and signs in the Village’s Right-of-Way (ROW) were abandoned due to a 2-2 split among Board members present. Due to input I received both in conversations and at the public hearing, I suggested the topic be returned for another discussion at a work session but was turned down. Trustee Pugh joined me. I am not supportive of unregulated signs throughout the Village but am willing to discuss the importance of signs as an effective means of outreach by local groups.
Placing signs of any sort in the Village’s (ROW) is already illegal under 197-8 of our code. Political or Election signs, as we know from the recent election, are the biggest users of the municipal ROW but are unable to be excluded for First Amendment reasons.
So as a practical matter, the remaining signs in our ROW areas tend to be for advertising of events by local religious or other non-profits. Garage/Tag sale signs also appear as do some business signs. Additionally, the Village, itself, uses signs to promote its own events such as Earth Day and Daffodil planting and Slow Down Croton. Although it’s prohibited, these frequently are placed in the ROW.
Sign proliferation can be a serious problem especially when signs appear and are never removed or require Village staff to spend time on removal. But signs promoting local events can also be a useful form of building community identity and communication as has been related to us by some of our local organizations.
As a result of the input received from residents and organizations who advertise their events this way, and others who find the signs add to a small-village community character, my suggestion was for the Board to re-visit this issue to try to find an accommodation as has occurred in other municipalities. This might well result in no change but I think it deserves a second look.
Ann Gallelli

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