Hamburg town board members Monday night called a temporary halt to new digital signs that flash bright colors as their messages change.
The six-month moratorium on electronic variable signs will be in effect while the town revises the code governing the signs.
“Every sign that comes into the town gets a variance,” Planning Consultant Drew Reilly told the Town Board during its work session. “That’s the first clue to tell you something’s wrong with your law.”
He said he would expect the Zoning Board of Appeals would have continued granting variances without the moratorium and unless the law is changed. Some variances are for setback distances, or they allow more than one sign within 1,000 feet of each other. He said the 1,000-foot requirement was a standard across many municipalities, but it sets up a rush for businesses applying for signs first so their neighbors can’t get one.
“If the ZBA is going to continue granting variances, then it’s not working,” he said of the restriction.
The Code Review Committee and code enforcement officer have begun reviewing possible changes, and Reilly said he has accumulated many sample laws from other municipalities and attended two seminars.
“We’ll be coming up with something that is palatable to everybody,” Reilly said. “I don’t think we’re going to ban electronic signs. The industry is here, but I don’t think we want to give them carte blanche, because the aesthetics of the town would go to you know what if we did do that. “
Code Enforcement Officer Kurt Allen said there are at least two dozen of the variable electronic signs in the town.
The six-month moratorium on applications started Nov. 1, but town officials said there have been no applications filed since the town started talking about the moratorium this fall.
Also Monday night, residents in Berkley Place spoke out against an apartment complex planned for vacant land near their development.
The 43-unit development would be built next to the Shaw and Shaw law office on South Park Avenue near Bayview Road. Before it is built, the site must be rezoned from commercial to neighborhood commercial.
“You’re taking a lot of traffic and you’re pushing it out on Bayview,” said Charles Ziemba, president of the Berkley Place Association.
He said Bayview Road near Frontier Central High School already has lots of traffic, particularly in the mornings and afternoon.
Reilly acknowledged the Bayview-South Park intersection is a “failing” intersection, and the apartments will not improve the situation. He said the rezoning is being considered by the Planning Board, which will make a recommendation to the Town Board.