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Great Neck Plaza tables vote to ban vehicles with ads in village

Great Neck Plaza area on July 17, 2017.

Great Neck Plaza area on July 17, 2017. Officials are eyeing legislation banning drivers from parking a vehicle with display ads in the village's business district or on public property. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Great Neck Plaza officials postponed a vote Wednesday on a measure to restrict vehicles with advertising from the business district after a business owner and residents voiced opposition.

Village officials said they proposed the law — which would also prohibit drivers from parking in the district or on public property — because they believe motorists could be distracted by the ads and cause an accident.

Signage required by law or placed on public transportation, such as buses, would be exempt from the proposed measure, as would vehicles for sale.

“If you’re telling me that don’t distract anyone and it’s OK for buses to have signs on them, you’re very wrong,” business owner Joseph Haghighat told trustees. “The driver who is sitting right next to that bus is looking at the advertising they have.”

Haghighat, of Great Neck, owns Great Neck Printing, Signs & Graphic Design and uses a BMW Mini Cooper with a trailer attached to advertise his clients. He said the proposal hamstrings his company.

Signs attached or affixed to a vehicle and used primarily for advertising or used to direct people to the location of a business would be prohibited under the measure, which was introduced earlier this month.

Violators would be fined $300 for the first offense, $600 for the second offense, $900 for three or more offenses and also face up to 15 days in jail.

Great Neck resident Tania Hannanian said that passing the law would kill businesses in Great Neck Plaza and that not everyone believes vehicle-mounted ads are a problem.

“I don’t think it’s a distraction,” Hannanian said. “I don’t think it has caused any accidents.”

Mayor Jean Celender noted that no such accidents have occurred in the village.

“I don’t want to wait for an accident to happen,” Celender said. “I have spent my whole mayoral term working on traffic and safety improvements, and I see this as a problem.”

Trustees agreed to table the vote until Sept. 18. Celender said she will meet privately with Haghighat to hear more about his concerns.

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