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Amityville looks to committee to study sign code changes

The effort comes after a complaint over enforcement of the existing code and a desire to have a cleaner look along sidewalks.

Amityville officials are forming a committee to revamp the village code for business signs after receiving a complaint about enforcement.

A restaurant owner complained to the village board of trustees last month after receiving a notice of violation for a sandwich board sign. The notice stated that Erica Reichlin’s sign was “nondirectional” and had to be removed from the public way in front of her business, Cornucopia’s Noshery Inc., within five days or she could face a fine, imprisonment or both.

“This is a huge thing, it’s almost devastating to get that letter,” said Reichlin, adding that signs are vital to bringing in customers to her restaurant, which has been in the village for eight years.

Mayor Dennis Siry said that in response to complaints, he had instructed village building inspector Bryan Donato to crack down on sign code violations. Donato said during one afternoon drive he noted more than three dozen signage violations and sent out 13 notices, including the one to Reichlin, intending to send letters to the others in the coming weeks.

“The intent was to try and clean up the village, and get it to conform with the sign code so that we could have a better looking downtown,” Siry said.

Siry said neon signs were the subject of complaints. Sandwich board signs are not specifically mentioned in the code but fall under “free-standing signs” which are not allowed in the right of way, he said.

The trustees agreed to a moratorium on enforcement of the code and Siry said later that he is forming a committee to discuss ways to update the sign code, including addressing neon lighting. The committee is to include business owners as well as members of the chamber of commerce and other local organizations, he said.

“Signs are a tough issue with businesses because everybody wants to stand out and catch people’s eye,” Siry said. “And you don’t want to take that away from them . . . but then next thing you know one person has a flashing sign and the next person wants to stand out so they get a bigger flashing sign.”

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