Hamburg Town Board members are expected to approve a six-month moratorium on electronic signs next month.
Board members Monday night scheduled a public hearing at their only October meeting, and if they approve the moratorium, it would be retroactive to Monday.
“If it takes a month or so to put in place, there will be a rush of people to apply to try and beat the moratorium,” said Town Planner Drew Reilly.
The town will accept applications until the board officially enacts a moratorium, Reilly said, but it will tell applicants that their applications might not be considered if the temporary ban goes into place.
The town wants to take time to revamp its sign regulations because the Zoning Board of Appeals is granting a lot of variances for the signs.
“We’re having a lot of problems with electronic signage,” Reilly said, adding that the Zoning Board has questioned the law’s intent. “There are some conflicts with some of the language,” he said.
References to electronic variable message signs have been added over the years and appear throughout the Town Code. “Every electronic sign that has come in the last two years has had to get variances from our law, because of conflicting language, sizes of them, location of them, etcetera,” Reilly said. “The ZBA is saying it’s a problematic law.”
Reilly said the town would like to revamp the entire signage law but will have to address it in stages because it is so comprehensive.
During the moratorium, the Code Review Committee will update the regulations on electronic and digital signs. “We’ve been looking at signage laws. It’s going to take us at least six months to fix all references,” Reilly said.
Also Monday night, the board appointed Raymond Pawlowski deputy superintendent of buildings and Patrick T. Ryan deputy superintendent of grounds.
“There is no pay increase with these appointments,” Councilwoman Amy J. Ziegler said.
There was one deputy superintendent of buildings and grounds who has retired. Highway Superintendent Thomas M. Best said that there is a $4,500 stipend that goes with the deputy’s position. He said his plan is to split it between the two deputies at some point in the future. “Since it’s a new position, we’re going to wait awhile to see what their duties are,” he said.
Board members also had words over a usually routine change of a recreation attendant from part time to seasonal. There were 25 lifeguards or recreation attendants whose status was changed, and Councilman Joseph A. Collins asked why one, Barbara K. Lipka, is getting paid almost twice as much as the others, $15.25 an hour. “I hope it has nothing to do with her being the chair of the Hamburg Republican Committee,” said Collins, a Democrat.
Ziegler and Supervisor Steven J. Walters, both Republicans, said Lipka is paid more because she is general manager of Woodlawn Beach State Park, not because of her political duties. Walters said she was hired by the town before she became Republican Party chairwoman. She worked mainly Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the park over the summer, Walters said, and in the coming months, she will be preparing for next year.