Eden moratorium on electronic and LED signs in town
Monday April 21, 2014 | By:Brian Campbell | News
EDEN — After much back-and-forth discussion, the Eden Town Board voted to impose a moratorium on electronic/LED signs in the town, during its most recent meeting. The board also noted that it can end the moratorium early, if need be.
Councilman Richard Ventry made the motion to adopt Local Law No. 2 of 2014, which would impose a six-month moratorium on applications and permits for illuminated and electronic messages and LED signs, which passed via a 3-to-2 vote (Ventry, Councilman Fran McLaughlin and Councilman Edward Krycia, aye; Supervisor Glenn Nellis and Councilwoman Mary Lou Pew, nay).
The initial idea of the moratorium was based on a recommendation by the town’s planning board.
“This same subject was referred to the town board back in 2009, with no action taken,” a memo from Planning Chair Mark Agle read. “The planning board has revisited this subject again, and would like to request the town board to consider a six-month moratorium on the sign ordinances for the LED signage. The planning board thought that this topic would merit further consideration by the town board, as to whether to amend our sign ordinance to address LED signage.”
McLaughlin said that he agreed with the moratorium, adding that he was not sure if the board wants these types of signs in town.
“To me, the fact that we had this public hearing indicated that we were in favor of a moratorium,” McLaughlin said. “As of right now, we don’t even know if we want to have them in our town. We have a rural town and I don’t know if we want to have a carnival. It depends on how the ordinance is put together. This is pretty important.”
CRA Engineering’s Mark Cavalcoli clarified that the planning board brought this issue to light because there is currently nothing on the books specifically pertaining to LED and electronic signs. He pointed out the part of the current town code that lists prohibited signs.
“The planning board’s intention is to consider the changes, because the existing code and the illumination information in the code no longer fits into today’s technology,” he said. “The code addresses things such as neon tubes and makes no mention of LED or light-emitting diodes, and the current technology for businesses is so much different today from the town’s code. There’s no intention of the planning board to push for one thing or another.”
Residents who spoke during a public hearing expressed mixed reactions.
“I think it’s a good idea to update our codes, because we are in a new era of advertising,” Ray Klein said. “I’ve heard the argument that these types of signs can be distracting – everything is distracting.”
“We have to have something so we know what we’re talking about when we decide what is acceptable in the town of Eden,” Phil Muck said. “I think we need to look at this moratorium and put something in place. Six months isn’t very long.”
Cavalcoli also read a list of current prohibited signs from the town’s current code.
That list included billboards and flashing signs, including any sign or device on which the artificial light does not remain stationary and constant in color and intensity at all times, when in use. “So, if you have a lighted sign, whether it’s LED or not, it cannot move, it cannot flash, it cannot changed color [and] it must be constant at all times,” Cavalcoli said. “And, if it does anything other than it, it’s prohibited.”
“Well, the message can’t change,” Town Attorney William Trask said. “And for these types of signs, that’s really the selling point of them to the business people. You have something to draw attention to you, because the message changes at whatever frequency you might set. That’s what attracts people to read the signs.”
The next Eden Town Board meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14.
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