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Village Eases Off Sign Restrictions

Mayor said consensus was some ideas were too restrictive. Public gets a say on March 16.

The color of real estate and contractor signs, as well as the type of posts they are mounted on, isn't part of a proposal put out to the public to compact temporary real estate and contractor signs in East Hampton Village.

At a meeting on Friday, the village board voted in favor of a new proposal to limit the size of signs hanging in front of properties that are up for sale or under construction. While the amendment to the village code does include some mandates on where a sign's post can be placed and when a sign needs to come down, it does not include some of the restrictions the board discussed at its last work session in early February.

The board has proposed that real estate and contractor signs be limited to no more than 18-by-18 inches (2.5 square feet) with lettering on only one side. No objects could be appended to real estate sign, such as "Under Contract" or "Sold." All signs' posts would have to be parallel to the street and the maximum height of of the sign and post could be no more than 3 feet above grade — unless a sign is posted in a window. Lastly, real estate signs would have to be removed no later than the date the property's deed is transferred.

A public hearing will be held in the Emergency Services Building meeting room on March 16 at 11 a.m.

"There was a general consensus of agreement that maybe the restrictions on the paint — black lettering with a white background — was too restrictive," Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said after the meeting. Other restrictions have been left out of the new proposal, too.

The board had talked about mandating the type of post signs could be mounted on, such as a white wooden post or black metal stakes. Allowing only three lines of text was also considered. The mayor said he had reached out the board members individually since the work session to discuss what attorney Linda Riley should draw up for a public hearing.

Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack said she changed her mind on some of what had been discussed after she talked to some realtors and had time to mull it over further. "We're not anti-business," she said, noting that the village doesn't want to cause any hardships. "We're trying to find a happy medium."

The original idea for an amendment was to compact the size of such signs and the new proposal still achieves just that, Rickenbach said.

Following municipalities like the Town of Shelter Island, village trustees initially proposed signs go from no more than 7 square feet to 1.5 square feet a few months ago. After a public hearing in January, the board decided that size was too small. They also decided to include contractor signs in the amendment to that chapter of the zoning code.

Walter Noller February 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Is it size or the illusion of permanence or the look that is just shy of tumble weeds blowing through town? What town may really want to look into is halting short(seasonal) term rentals on storefronts. It only makes town look bad the other 8-9 months. And if the home sign dates back to a previous presidential administration it's time for someone to... well, or get off the pot and do something about it. Either check the realtor's pulse for signs of life or, at least listen to them when they tell you fix what's wrong or be more realistic in your price.
Tom Friedman February 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I was goimg to say something about the size of the R/E signs but after reading the post by Walter above, I thought it a better idea to answer his two main points. 1 - The seasonal rental problem cannot be solved by the town or village boards. The owners are the deciders, along with the prospective tenants and the trend out here is to have seasonal rentals since it serves the purpose of both landlord and tenant. 2 - The real estate market, though showing signs of waking up, is still pretty dismal. The fact that you see a lot of signs is that there are a lot of homes for sale. Every month more homes go on the market than are sold. At least it seems that way from the perspective of the agents trying to sell homes on the East End. The fact that a home may be improperly priced is a subject that is constantly being discussed by the agent and their client. The very fact that prices are constantly being lowered attests to this. I cannot give Walter (above) a thorough lesson on the "science" of real estate but he should make an appointment with an agent and pose some of his complaints to him (her).
Barbara Borsack February 21, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Thank you Tom for that answer - you saved me the effort! Well informed and correct on all points!

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