Fredonia sets public hearing to update sign code

OBSERVER photo by Jimmy McCarthy On Monday, the Fredonia Village Board approved to set a public hearing regarding village sign restriction changes. The public hearing is set for Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Trustees' Room, located on the second floor.

A revision to Fredonia’s zoning law is looking to bring equality to all signs.

On Monday, village trustees approved to set a public hearing for the Nov. 27 meeting on amendments to sign restrictions within Chapter 297. One language change is found within Section 16.7, and it reads that any sign advertising an event cannot be in place for more than 30 days prior to the event. Signs advertising an event would need to be removed within 48 hours after the event.

A section within the village’s current law limits political signs that advertise a candidate or candidates for office 21 days prior to an election. Removal of the sign under current village law is a week after election. That section would be fully repealed and changed to address all signs equally, if approved by the board of trustees later this month.

The new proposal also reads that no more than four signs are permitted in residential zoning districts one, two and three. The size of the sign cannot exceed 2-feet-by-2-feet.

The section further states that signs can’t obstruct traffic or interfere with the line of sight of any person and vehicles using public roads. Signs also can’t be placed on right of ways, vacant lots or on telephone poles.

“After much study and meetings, the planning board of the village of Fredonia, through its chairman G. Scott Mackay, has recommended various revisions to the zoning law in order to comply with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and to clarify certain sections of the sign law,” said trustee Catherine Creeley.

Another revision within the village’s code is honing in on illuminated signs. Under new proposed language, exterior lighting is permitted provided that illumination is concentrated upon the area of the sign so as to prevent glare upon the road or adjacent property. Lights mounted on the top of the sign projecting downward are preferred. Strobe lights or rotating lights are not permitted as illumination or as part of any sign.

A paragraph was also added to village zoning code to define and address an obscene sign. The section reads that an obscene sign, as define by state penal law, falls within prohibition of the display of offensive sexual material. Obscene signs are prohibited in the village and it’s a violation for any person, firm, corporation or entity to put up or permit an obscene sign for display.

The public hearing on Nov. 27 is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Trustees’ Room located on the second floor.

The board was still without a village attorney at Monday’s meeting, but that could soon change. Mayor Athanasia Landis told the OBSERVER they have a candidate they’d like to select. Landis said the decision among village trustees was made recently, but they still have to reach out to the candidate. A resolution would need to come before the board for approval in order to fill the vacant seat.

More than five candidates expressed interest in the position that opened after Todd Thomas resigned in late August to become Jamestown City Clerk. Thomas, who entered the position in May, succeeded former Village Attorney Samuel Drayo Jr., who left at the end of December 2016 after serving 48 years.