Digital signs may be the future, but in some parts of the Town of Hamburg, they are not allowed – except when they are.
The electronic signs are permitted mainly in commercial and manufacturing zoned areas, and not within 2,000 feet of one another. But the Zoning Board of Appeals has granted variances to 15 to 20 of the signs in other zoning districts in recent years, according to Kurt Allen, supervising code enforcement officer.
“It seems to me the Zoning Board is dictating policy on signs,” he told Town Board members during a work session Monday evening.
Now officials are preparing to enact a moratorium on the signs.
The town’s Code Review Committee is asking for the moratorium, and board members said they would prepare a resolution for their next meeting.
While a moratorium is in effect, the town would be looking at where it wants digital signs. Allen said he would recommend the moratorium be in effect for several months, while new rules are established.
“We need to determine direction and policy,” Allen said.
The Code Review Committee is looking at rewriting the sign ordinance, and wants to make it shorter and easier to understand, Allen said.
Allen said the Zoning Board has granted variances allowing the digital signs in overlay districts with stricter regulations, in neighborhood/nommercial districts and within 2,000 feet of one another.
“They’ve been granted almost universally,” he said of requests for digital signs within 2,000 feet of other signs.
He said the town has to decide what type of visual character it wants to portray in the future.
“It’s become an enforcement issue,” he said.
The town also is concerned that as more variances are granted, it will become more difficult to refuse requests for the signs.
Also Monday night, the board approved signing an agreement with New Wave Energy Corp. for electricity. The company estimates it can save the town $40,000 a year.