The East Hampton Village Board is considering mandating smaller real estate signs within village limits, by cutting them in half.
Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. has proposed downsizing what's allowed under village code and the board decided, at a work session on Thursday, to notice a public hearing for January.
"There's such a proliferation of signs," Rickenbach, whose wife is a real estate agent with , said, "and at the same time so many people can go on the Internet and the like to look to see what might and might not be available."
Currently, the law allows for one real estate sign, per property, that is no bigger than a total of 7 square feet and no higher than 4 feet. Signs are usually 2-by-3.5 feet. Real estate signs are considered an exception to the signage law in the village that requires permitting.
Rickenbach offered three proposals for the maximum allowed sign; 2-by-2 feet, 1-by-1.5 feet, and 4-by-10 inches.
Shelter Island has capped signs in its town to 1-by-1.5 in the past year.
East Hampton's smallest proposal is the size of a real estate sign which were used by Sotheby's agents in East Hampton.
Board member Elbert Edwards suggested the village notice the hearing using Shelter Island' sign limits in an effort to get more community feedback than they would if using the 2-by-2 limit. "We'll see what people say," he said.
"We're not trying to diminish the cap of any one real estate agency or individual to consummate a sale," Rickenbach said, "but I think we have a responsibility to the residential community. It deals, again, with the quality of life."
Board member Rick Lawler said he had been hoping for "a back and forth" with real estate agents. He said he was in favor of smaller signs, but wasn't sure how small to go.
Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack suggested the village go beyond just noticing the public hearing by reaching out to the real estate agencies and inviting agents to come to the hearing.
Borsack also said she would like the village to offer agents "a good length of time to get in compliance" with any new law, once it is passed, because signs tend to be expensive.
While Rickenbach suggested 30 days, the rest of the board requested more time, and the members compromised on 60 days.
The hearing will be held at the Emergency Services Building on Jan. 20 at 11 a.m.
The amendments would only apply to real estate signs. Contractor signs are currently limited to one per property, no more than a total of 7 square feet or 4 feet in height. No permit is required for these either.