Sign law, ethics code go to public hearings

No provision made for not-for-profit signs on public land

The Bethlehem Town Board has set public hearings on changes to two laws that have been a matter of discussion for weeks.

At its meeting on Wednesday, May 23, the Board set public hearings for changes to the town’s temporary sign law and ethics code. The date and the public can voice opinions on the new drafts of the laws was set for Wednesday, June 13, at 7 p.m.

Changes to the town’s sign law regarding temporary signs have been discussed since December when two residents asked town officials for a more definite sign policy to go along with a long list of zoning amendments. Resident Amanda Fallon, who spoke on behalf of the Hamagrael Elementary PTA Craft Fair Committee, said she was concerned about the fact signs she believed to be permissible were being taken down.

Board members eventually learned because the language of the law did not mention signs on county and state roads some believed it was legal to place signs there. Signs in the right of way on town roads are illegal. Enforcement was also found to be an issue.

The draft law sent to public hearing would allow any signs to be placed on private, residential property 15 feet back from the edge of the road. The temporary signs could not exceed 6 square feet and banners affixed to buildings would be allowed for 30 days.

However, changes to the law previously suggested by Councilman Jeffrey Kuhn that would have allowed temporary signs in the right of way on some designated state and county roads were removed.

“In broad sketch, what the Planning Board found was they did not think that it was a good idea for the town to specifically allow in the right of way of state or county highways,” said Supervisor John Clarkson. “They found this in part after further communications with the state DOT (Department of Transportation) which expressed strong opinion they did not want signs within their right of way … the county Planning Board responded with a similar opinion.”

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