Sign causes a stir in Fredonia

This sign on Porter Road has drawn the ire of neighbors. OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward

A bad neighborhood. That’s what a few residents on Liberty Street in Fredonia are feeling about where they live as an individual at 140 Porter Road keeps posting political signs of questionable nature.

“It is offensive and inappropriate for the school buses that drive by as well as a horrible representation of our village,” resident Melissa Leffel wrote to the Village Board and was shared at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting. “It seems to be over the size limit allowed by village ordinance. Additionally at the barns of 160 Porter Road there are large signs, these are less of a concern as they are further back from the road and inoffensive, but if I’m calling one house out I should be consistent. Coincidentally they are both owned by the same person.”

The sign, with a caricature of President Joe Biden, states: “Silver Alert! 78 yr old male wandering around DC area …” Another sign, which is the basis for the complaints, included derogatory language toward Democrats

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood 18 years and up until now have always enjoyed the company of kind, pleasant and caring neighbors,” Shannon McRae, another Liberty Street resident wrote. “When I moved here I felt as if I found a real community. We’re good neighbors and we have good neighbors.”

The letter further cited the address, calling the signs “extremely rude and overly large.”

“Most people had yard signs during the election and I knew everyone had an opinion. That’s fine, I love living in a town where neighbors can have different views and still be neighbors,” McRae continued. “But it is long past the election and this person’s signs have gotten larger, uglier, more abundant and more directly hostile.

“We have little children in this neighborhood. Porter Road and Liberty Street is one of the main bus routes for the downtown. This not only reflects poorly on our neighborhood, but this kind of signage to me creates a bad neighborhood. I have been told that his signs may be in violation of local zoning laws, specifically 297-16.”

Trustee EvaDawn Bashaw commented that she understands free speech, but was mostly concerned with whether the law has been broken. “We don’t really have a whole lot of say over what is posted, but is the sign in violation of size ordinance with the village?” Bashaw asked.

“Absolutely,” code enforcement officer Chuck LaBarbera stated. “We have sent several violations, about three or four. I could send violations all day long, but the courts are not open so that’s as far as I can go.”

The courts in the village reopened on Wednesday, but only for certain things and not ordinance violations.

“The courts will call me when I can start writing appearance tickets, this guy knows that the courts aren’t open and is just pushing our buttons,” LaBarbera noted. “The more we send violations the more signs go up. We’ve taken pictures and sent them to our attorneys.”

The village is looking into the matter further and hope to have something resolved soon.


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