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Sign ordinance updated to be pro-business


The issue regarding signs displayed within the Village of Hamburg has reached a conclusion, following the village board’s decision at Monday’s (Aug. 6) meeting to approve amendments to the municipality’s zoning code as well as adopting a pair of local laws that further update the code and specify regulations addressing special permits and site plan reviews.

Village Mayor Thomas J. Moses Sr. said the lengthy fine-tuning process regarding signage comes following the gathering of thorough input from local business owners.

Village Attorney Edward Murphy also stated during the board’s work session that the code amendments put forth a more “pro-business” stance than that of the originally proposed version, with the current directive also encompassing suggestions made from the Architectural Review Committee and American Society of Civil Engineers, while complying with the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Murphy added that there is not a significant change on noted land use.

It is stated as part of Local Law No. 3 that the protection of public health, welfare and safety is stressed, to go along with “creating a more attractive economic and business climate, enhancing and protecting the physical appearance of the community, preserving the scenic and natural beauty and providing a more enjoyable and pleasing community.”

Other noted items include reducing sign or advertising distractions and obstructions contributing to traffic accidents, to go along with limiting hazards caused by signs “overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way,” thus promoting more visual open space.

The term “sign” is defined under village standards as “any permanent or temporary device or structure for visual communication that is used for the purpose of bringing the subject thereof to the attention of the public, which shall display or include any letter, word, model, banner, emblem, pennant, insignia or representation which is in the nature of an announcement, direction or advertisement which is placed out of doors or can be viewed from the street, sidewalk or other public place.”

Freestanding or ground signs were stated as now not being permitted to hang over sidewalks or roadways, and must be located at least 10 feet behind all established rights-of-way and at least 15 feet from any adjacent lot or property line. Digital signs – defined as typically utilizing LED, plasma or LCD technology to produce the character and graphics of the display – are not permitted in any zoning district within Village of Hamburg boundaries.

Other prohibited signs include those being internally illuminated, with the exception of neon or LED types confined in window signage; flashing, because of their regular competition with traffic and other safety lighting; beacon, with one or more beams capable of being directed in any direction while being revolved automatically; and those being erected upon and over the roof, gutter, line or eave of any building or structure.

Permitted signs include descriptions of being A-Frame, banner, building identification, business, directional or informational, double-face or V-type, freestanding/ground, directly and indirectly illuminated, non-illuminated, marquee, mobile/portable, off-premises, on-premises, parallel or wall, projectile/perpendicular, temporary, trailer and window.

Guidelines for temporary signs include the items being displayed for no more than 60 days within a year-long period.

Additionally, projecting signs are not permitted to extend more than four feet from the wall or surface to which they are mounted, with a minimum of eight feet to the bottom of the sign above the ground level immediately below, with a further emphasis of not interfering with pedestrian of vehicle traffic.

A-Frame signs are not allowed to be greater than 9 square feet, while not being taller than 36 inches from the ground to the top of the sign, and not wider than 36 inches.

Perpendicular signs cannot exceed 20 square feet in area and may not project more than 5 feet from the building face.

The cumulative area of all permanent window signs cannot exceed more than 40 percent of the overall window, and no sign is allowed to project from an awning.

Portable illuminated signs are also not permitted.

One wall sign is permitted per each building and each display cannot exceed 4 square feet in area.

All permitted, permanent signs also must be constructed of “durable material and kept in good condition and repair,” while temporary signs may be constructed of materials in accordance with intended use while maintained in good condition and repair.

Signs are prohibited from being attached to utility poles or street trees, except for in the cases of “municipal purposes.”

Any allowable sign must also first have been approved through a permit issued by a Village of Hamburg Code Enforcement official. A detailed sign construction description must also be provided, to go along with a written statement depicting the name of the sign owner, address, telephone number and name of the person in control of the building or premises on which the sign will be located.

Permanent signs must also be constructed in a stable manner to withstand minimum wind loads as determined through ASCE. Code Enforcement Officials and members of the ARC are also slated to examine plans and other data in review of an application for compliance with the Building Design Standards.

Penalties for those violating sign or code regulations/provisions include a fine not exceeding $250 and/or face a prison term not to exceed 15 days.

Local Law No. 4 includes the requirement for a site plan review regarding all construction, reconstruction, additions and change-of-use classification, which results in changes to the exterior of the sign location or affections site conditions while possessing any environmental impact on the premises or adjoining properties. The provision is stated as applying to all structures or properties “within the Central Business District, Professional Office District and light industrial, except for a one-family dwelling or a two-family dwelling and their permitted uses, buildings or structures.”

Each of the resolved measures was approved by board votes of 4-0.

Other meeting items included discussion about Service Request Forms made to the village’s Department of Public Works, items said to have brought more order to recognized work orders in Hamburg. DPW Superintendent Marc Shuttleworth and Village Administrator Donald Witkowski each stated that although the DPW has a large amount of backed-up projects to be completed, service request forms have served as a form of identifying and prioritizing the noted work brought to the department. Shuttleworth said high-priority projects include addressing safety hazard items.

“It’s a balancing act,” Shuttleworth said of the DPW’s regular workload. “There’s always been a high volume of requests, but now it’s quantified (through service request forms).”

Witkowski said the DPW is currently well aware of its list of projects, adding, “Things had gotten lost in the past.”Street paving and other state-directed initiatives take up much current time for DPW members, although Shuttleworth added that about eight months of other requests- including beautification, tree stump removal, tree removal and sealant completion- remain on the department’s to-do agenda.

Service request forms were said to be made available to village residents when they call Village Hall at 649-0200, with an office secretary typically composing such an item for an individual.

The next Hamburg Village Board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 20 at Village Hall, located at 100 Main St¡.

A preceding work session will begin at 5:30 p.m.


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