Town of Bethlehem says zoning code 'too severe'

The matter began last year when Quinn put up two banners underneath his permanent restaurant sign on Route 9W in Glenmont. He was advertising a lunch buffet special in order to draw larger lunch crowds away from nearby national chain competitors.

Quinn said it worked, but was told by the town's chief building inspector Gil Boucher to take it down. When he refused, he was cited for violating town code and forced to take the banners down.

He originally applied for a sign variance for the banners, according to the zoning board of appeals administrative assistant Nanci Moquin, but was denied because he did not provide evidence that he was losing business.

Quinn contends he is being singled out by Boucher and would have been denied the variance with financial records or not, and that at the time he was asked for records, the previous restaurant owner had just died.

Quinn asked for a jury trial and went to town court on Wednesday, May 14, for his violation of the town's zoning code, but Town Justice Paul Dwyer denied Quinn a jury and heard the case himself, according to Quinn.

Dwyer is expected to make a decision on the case in early July.

The town has repeatedly said Quinn was given several opportunities to clear up the matter. Officials said banners are illegal in town without a variance, and Quinn was cited for being in violation, adding that he was never arrested and is not being targeted.

Quinn, however, said he is convinced Boucher is unfairly attacking him and he said there are numerous illegal banners throughout town that go unchecked. He claims local and independent businesses are put to a different standard than the national chains popping up along 9W.

Boucher has not responded to repeated inquiries on the matter but did appear in court in May on behalf of the town.

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