A Nassau County legislator and community leaders in Elmont called on Hempstead Town officials Friday to tear down illegal signs posted on public utility poles in the hamlet.
Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) said the “bombardment of advertising” is distracting to drivers and detracts from the Elmont community.
“They are truly taking away from our quality of life,” Solages said. “We are the gateway of Nassau County.”
Solages held the news conference at the intersection of a state road, Hempstead Turnpike, and a county road, Elmont Road, near a pole that had several signs on it, including one for Gerald Powell, a candidate for District 6’s sanitation commissioner in Hempstead Town.
“It’s just popping up more and more in the wee hours of the morning,” said Tammie Williams, a trustee for the Elmont Memorial Library and a board member of the Parkhurst Civic Association. She ran unsuccessfully for Hempstead Town Board in 2015. “But if you drive over to Garden City, you don’t see one sign.”
In 2012, the Hempstead Town officials banned such signs because they obstruct pedestrian vision and vehicular traffic, as well as create a hazard and disturbance “to the health and welfare of the general public,” according to the Building Zone Ordinance. Authorities can fine the sign’s owner $250 for each one the town removes.
Solages and Williams said they’ve reached out to the town — including a letter sent to Supervisor Anthony Santino on Thursday — after residents’ complaints but said they have not received any help.
“We aggressively remove signs that are placed on utility poles across 1,200 miles of town roadways,” Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said in a statement issued after the news conference. “We strongly suggest that if Legislator Solages is truly concerned about this matter, that he spearhead an effort to have the Nassau County Department of Public Works remove illegally placed signs along county roadways and other major thoroughfares.”
Deery said that the Town of Hempstead does not have jurisdiction to tear down signs on the roads where the news conference was held.
Solages said he’s tried taking the signs down himself, but often they’re glued to poles or are too high to reach. He’s also contacted the Nassau County Police Department to address the issue.
He and community leaders plan to do a cleanup before Election Day, citing upcoming cold weather as a reason to hurry.