Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

August 20, 2013

Sign law comes up for discussion in the Village of Lewiston

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Depending on the point of view, signs placed throughout a town or village are either extremely important for advertising or an eyesore.

Businesses, especially restaurants, and their owners rely on them to draw attention to a product, to distinguish themselves. But loose signs on sidewalks can cause injury, so they're often heavily regulated by municipalities.

Historic villages like Lewiston pay even more attention to sign regulations, as businesses must fit into a designated motif. So, the Lewiston Village Board, close to updating its own sign law, spent time during Monday's meeting listening to input from residents and business owners about the proposed changes.

"I think there's a place in the village for LED signs," resident and business owner Emery Simon said, speaking of a type of sign the new law would outlaw if adopted as written. "Like the bowling alley. It's in the back, hidden away so well, even I forgot it was there for 20 years. There is an area for these signs and an area where these signs wouldn't fit. The historic district wouldn't look good. If I put one on the (Lewiston) Stone House, it wouldn't look good because it's supposed to be a historic building. And if the Frontier House gets restored, I don't think you'd want to have an LED sign in front of it."

LED and "sandwich board" signs were the major focus of discussion, as they could face some of the harshest regulations. Lit signs using the bright LED bulbs weren't originally addressed in the planned regulations, according to Planning Board Chairman Kenneth Slagenhoupt, who's authoring the new regulation. But he's reexamining it to include harsh restrictions. 

The "sandwich boards," or A-frame signs, are a different story. There are regulations in place currently, but officials have said they're not strict enough. Currently, "sandwich boards" can be displayed in front of a business for 21 days prior to an event and seven days after without facing any fines.

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