Sign law moves ahead

Councilman wonders if rules becoming too complex

— To combat enforcement issues, the highway superintendent and the commissioner of public works were added to the list of people allowed to remove signs, as was any “duly designated representative.” Under current law, only the building inspector can remove signs deemed to be illegal.

Councilwoman Joann Dawson said there was some confusion over how the town defined “right-of-way” and asked for a clarification of the term. Building Inspector Gil Bouchard said different areas of town have different measurements, but in most places the right-of-way is 25 feet from the center line of the road.

“If it’s by the edge of the road, it’s in the right-of-way whether county right-of-way, state, town or federal road,” said Director of Planning and Development Michael Morelli.

Dawson said she felt the language still needed work and residents and organizations should get more than two signs per year, especially since most politicians campaign more than twice a year and many organizations have more than two fundraising events.

“You might want to consider opening that up,” she said.

Councilman Kyle Kotary said the law was becoming too complicated for people to understand and was placing a constraint on resident’s rights. He wondered why the town couldn’t just keep its current law but add an exemption for not-for-profit signs.

“I understand what you’re saying,” said Supervisor John Clarkson in response to Dawson. “I guess I would say there’s been a lot of work to get this to work legally and legal language isn’t always easiest for everyone to grasp. I think with explanation this would work very well.”

He said the town could potentially create informational guides to help residents better understand the law.

Kuhn told Kotary the proposed law would actually give residents more rights because under the current law, nearly all signs placed on private property are illegal.

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