Center Street occupants may find it hard to take advantage of new law
By Joshua Maloni
Trustees in the Village of Lewiston voted Monday to approve a change to the municipal sign code. Intent on helping people spot local businesses from the street, the board voted unanimously to modify the projecting sign size from two square feet up to a maximum of six square feet.
The revised code is section 13, D, 3, A2. Trustees approved the change following a recommendation from the Planning Commission.
Deputy Treasurer and Planning Board Secretary Edward Walker said the commission "acted on the requests of some of the businesses on Center Street to change the code."
Planning Board Vice Chairwoman Anne Welch explained, "We reviewed the sign law ... and we noticed other communities have hanging projecting signs. Ours, the two square feet, was very small. And because it is a walkable community, and the trees are getting more mature now, it's sometimes hard to see the signs on the building. As you walk down the street, it would look really nice if you had the projecting signs such as the Stone House - in that type of old historic-type sign projecting from the building."
Her colleague, Claudia Marasco, added, "We'd also like, if at all possible, that they make it out of metal. If you notice Emery Simon's (sign at the Stone House) is very well decorated with the scroll effect. We like that look a lot. We would hold them to that. But that would be a case of, 'Go look at his sign and see if you can do something similar.' "
Welch and Marasco were the only speakers at a public hearing held prior to the board vote.
Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland made the motion to adopt the code change. He said, "Personally, I think it's a good idea. I think it's time that we have a larger sign."
The new sign law applies to all village businesses. There is one condition that solely affects Center Street restaurateurs and retailers, however, and that is recent notification from the New York State Department of Transportation stating signs cannot cross more than 6 inches into the right-of-way.
Center Street is a state roadway, which means the DOT has final say on how it's used, and what is or isn't permissible.
Trustees said that, while existing signs have been grandfathered in, it's not expected the DOT would approve future sign encroachments. The state agency's concern is liability.
As such, Sutherland said it's the DOT's policy not to approve new signs in the right-of-way.
Town of Lewiston Clerk/Treasurer Donna Garfinkel was in the crowd and thanked the board for approving the code change. She and her husband, Neil, operate Sgt. Peppers Hot Sauces, Etc., at 402 Center St. Their daughter and son-in-law, Jessica and Chris Budde, also work at that address, at Brewed and Bottled Craft Beer Shop. The two stores are located inside the Grandpaws Pet Emporium plaza, which is far enough off the road that tenants can utilize the new sign law.
So, too, the village's other Center Street plaza occupants can now hang larger projecting signs.
The code amendment now must be approved by the New York State Department of State before it becomes official.