By Joshua Maloni
A new “sandwich board” sign law was adopted Monday by the Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees. The affirmative vote follows nine months of discussions amongst elected leaders seeking uniformity and safety on Center Street, and business owners looking to keep the exterior advertising they say is key to attracting walking traffic.
Mayor Anne Welch said, “We took everybody’s comments, we got all the businesses’ comments. (Clerk) Shannon (Fundis) did a great job putting everything together. And this is what the final sign law should look like.”
She added, “We sent this all out to all the business people. We didn’t hear any complaints.”
Deputy Mayor Vic Eydt added, “We got a lot of input (from the business community); we used a lot of the input.”
The adopted resolution reads:
Local Law #15-2023 – amend Section 13 Sign Regulations to read:
Change number 25 to:
“A-Frame/Vertical Sign” – a hinged freestanding sign that is composed of two sign faces, unattached to any building or ground surface and which opens in an “A” shape or a Vertical sign.
•C. Prohibited Signs
Item 13 – Upon submission of application and all requested information, the Village Zoning Officer may grant approval for one A-frame/Vertical sign per business.
Eligibility for authorization of an A-frame/Vertical sign requires the business to have a primary sign approved by the Planning Commission (Refer to Section 13 – Sign Regulations of the Village Code) before A-frame signs (secondary signage) can be considered.
Evidence of insurance coverage for the sign, with the Village of Lewiston listed as additionally insured, must be submitted with the application, as well as an image of the proposed location of the A-frame/Vertical sign.
If approved, the use of one A-frame/Vertical sign would not be counted towards the allowed signage (Refer to Section 13 – Sign Regulations of the Village Code).
No A-frame/Vertical signs of any size, shape or design shall be permitted within the public right-of-way of Village streets.
The sign must be non-illuminated, not exceed 8 square feet in area and 4 feet in height and have nothing attached to it.
The use of an A-frame/ Vertical sign is only permitted during the business’ hours of operation. The business is to put the A-frame/Vertical sign out no sooner than open of business and remove by close of business and be sufficiently secure to prevent movement from the wind. Any weights or cords used with the sign must also be taken in with the sign.
Placement will not obstruct free egress from a window, door, or a fire escape and will not interfere with vehicular or pedestrian access or visibility.
Failure to comply with the requirements detailed above may result in the revocation of the A-frame/Vertical sign approval, and/or a $100 fine. The Village Zoning Officer has the right to collect the A-Frame/Vertical sign, if it is left out beyond the business’ hours of operation.
(Paragraphs added for clarity.)
Per village code, “Sandwich board” signs were not allowed prior to the pandemic.
But at May’s gathering, Welch explained, “During COVID, we allowed ‘sandwich board’ signs, banners, curbside – whatever we could do to help the businesses get their business and keep it going. Our current law, before COVID, stated that the ‘sandwich boards’ were not permitted. They were several years ago, and then they stopped because it got out of control.
“We want to work with the business people, but we need some kind of control so they don’t get out of control again.”
Among many comments from merchants, Viva Nostalgia owner Roger Passero summed it up best: “We’re fighting to get people in a store, and that is what this is all about. It's not about wanting to get you people mad, or to make the loudest signs, whatever. It's just that we're fighting to get people in” and overcome a challenging business climate where online sales reign supreme.
In stark contrast to June’s monthly meeting, where the Morgan Lewis Village Boardroom was filled to capacity – and residents flooded into the hallway – no business owners were present at this session.
For more on this topic:
Also at Monday’s monthly meeting, trustees voted to approve:
•A $97,911.05 payment to DJM Contracting Inc. for work completed on the Ninth Street water system improvement project. The total cost was higher, but the municipality had $52,824.33 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to put toward the work.
This cost will be offset by the surcharge of $10 per residential billing cycle for capital water/sewer improvements enacted three years ago.
•Resolutions allowing Engineer Mike Marino and his firm, Nussbaumer & Clarke, to pursue state money for phase VI of the Lewiston Landing rehabilitation and enhancement initiative. Such action is required for New York Local Waterfront Revitalization Program applications. The agenda noted the village’s project cost estimate is $487,500. The LWRP, through the New York State Department of State, is authorized to fund up to $365,625 of that total.
Board members OK’d a resolution for authorization and appropriation of a 25% local match – a sum not to exceed $121,875.
The State Environmental Quality Review process “on the same site has been determined not to have a significant impact on the environment.”
Items to be included in phase VI include replacing a staircase and stabilizing the bank. Phase VI will tie into phase V, which calls for enhancements to the fish-cleaning station, staircase work, and a new pavilion.
•The Lewiston Porter Youth Football Program request to host a car-drying fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 22. The event requires use of eight parking spots at Academy Park across the street from Magic Mist Car Wash, on the corner of North Ninth and Cayuga streets.
•A public hearing, set for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, to discuss the adoption of Local Law #16-2023 – amend Sec. 2-69.(1) to read: “The position of deputy clerk in the village is hereby created, and the term of office of the deputy clerk shall be four years.”