BY GEORGE J. POTANOVIC, JR.
President of Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment (SPACE)
On Tuesday, December 13 at 7 p.m. in RHO Building, the town will hold a public hearing on proposed zoning amendments to the Stony Point Sign Law, resulting from a request by the Stony Point Ambulance Corps to install an LED billboard sign in front of its building on Route 9W.
All types of LED signs, including those with animated graphics, commercial advertising and flashing lights are currently strictly prohibited in the Town of Stony Point town code due to concern that commercial LED signs could quickly grow as retail stores attempt to compete with neighboring stores for our attention along the busy 9W business corridor. Many town residents believe that LED signs appear ugly, can affect the historic nature and character of our town and can also add one more piece of visual clutter along a very busy roadway. Critics says it’s wrong to distract drivers by urging them to take their eyes off the road to read LED messages while driving by – just as we preach to our young people that it is very dangerous to text and drive.
Supervisor Jim Monaghan says he supports the new sign law amendments because its been written to strictly limit LED signs only to emergency and public safety organizations for the specific purpose of presenting public announcements, emergency messages and local government messages – and in order to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community. This would include promoting the organization to new volunteers. Currently, the Stony Point Ambulance Corps is the only organization requesting a sign. But, if the amendments are approved, the fire and police departments would also qualify to apply for an LED sign.
The proposed sign law amendments restrict the sign structure to not exceed 7.5 feet in height with a maximum LED display area of no greater than 4×4 feet. The proposed law indicates that animated and motion effects will be prohibited on LED signs. However, there is no mention in the proposed law to prohibit commercial advertising.
Kathy Leroy, president of the Stony Point Ambulance Corps, has assured the residents that the purpose of the sign will be a “static” one, will not change frequently and will not contain any animation or flashing lights or commercial advertising. She also said that, while she personally also finds flashing, colored LED signs to be out of character with the Stony Point, the ambulance corps would be willing to write these content restrictions, permanently, into the organization’s bylaws.
While the town board has worked with the ambulance corps to develop these amendments, it is now important for the public to also provide input. Decisions we make everyday, large and small, can significantly affect the character and look and feel of Stony Point. It is essential that we consider our choices carefully.
Please attend the hearing on Tuesday. To receive a copy of the proposed sign law amendments, go to the Town of Stony Point website or email SPACE at firstname.lastname@example.org.