When Glenville’s sign ordinance was first drafted, technology like bright LED lights hadn’t even been imagined. So for the past three years, town officials have worked to craft a modern law suitable for regulating growing commercial corridors.
The Glenville Town Board held a public hearing Wednesday, Feb. 6, on proposed amendments to its sign regulations, which mostly affect what business owners can display to promote their store or services. Business representatives generally spoke favorably about the proposed changes.
Deputy Supervisor Alan Boulant said the current administration made changing sign laws a priority since taking office and it’s been a “painful process” that stretched on longer than needed.
“It was just an antiquated, outdated set of rules that were fine 25 to 30 years ago,” Boulant said. “It was clogging the ability for us to get signs taking care of.”
Among the updates, definitions were added for the Glenville Business and Technology Park, LED signs, sandwich board/sidewalk signs and the temporary sign definition was modified.
LED signs would be permitted but limited to Community Business, General Business, and Research/Development/Technology zoning districts. LED signs wouldn’t be permitted within the Town Center Overlay zoning district, which encompasses several businesses along the Route 50 corridor near the Glenville Municipal Center located on Glenridge Road. Regulations affect the configuration, location and operation of LED signs.
“The LED signs, those new animated sings, there is still a little work in progress on that,” Boulant said.
Regulations were also added for the placement and configuration of sandwich board, mobile/off-premises, civic, religious, educational and non-profit event signs. Plastic signs would also be allowed, with preference given to wood, simulated wood, stone, brick and composite signs.
Conflicting provisions, typically relating to sign setbacks, were also corrected.
William Socha, president of Socha Management, Inc., supported the changes to the ordinance and said past idiosyncrasies in the town code sometimes created hardships for business owners.
“We have dealt with unfortunate situations over the past few years with current ordinances and really some silly, silly situations,” Socha said. “I am very much for this … I think it is very important to keep the businesses in mind.”
Socha agreed with the town’s proposal to allow internally lit signs. He recalled an instance in which a business was replacing the plastic panel to update its backlit sign, but the town made him light it directly instead.
“The town made him shut down the internally lit sign and then spend this money to put these stupid things that shine down on the same exact sign,” Socha said.
Some worried about aesthetics though, including resident David Hennel, who spoke on internally lit signs.
“I’m little nervous by eliminating the restriction,” Hennel said. “I’m hoping that we are able to try and keep some of this great progress … as a resident I’m hoping we don’t go back to the big, square, white box.”
Ernie Darrah, manager of Personal Wine Cellar, welcomed monument signs being allowed at shopping centers. Previously, only pole or pylon type signs were allowed, which is the design used for Price Chopper’s sign where Darrah’s store is located.
Darrah said Personal Wine Cellar, which opened in October 2011, has experienced good growth since opening and the store is looking to invest in a new sign. He said the lighting shining onto the sign right now is not adequate.
“You could drive by tonight and … all you are going to see is a glare,” Darrah said. “All you are going to see is a big, giant, white blotch next to Price Chopper and wonder, ‘What’s that?’ So I am very glad we are doing this.”
James Valachovic, president of the Glenville Business and Professional Association and member of the town’s Small Business Economic Development Committee and Local Development Corporation, said the local business groups he belongs to support the proposed changes. He said the updated code would help attract and retain businesses.
To view the specific amendments proposed for Glenville’s sign ordinance click here to visit the town’s website. You can download the document after following the link, but Microsoft Word software is required to properly view the document.
During the last two years, the town awarded funds to local business to replace signs through its Revitalization and Economic Development Investment (REDI) fund. Town officials haven’t decided what REDI funds would be used for this year.