BALLSTON – Residents staged a rally outside of Town Hall before Wednesday’s Ballston Planning Board meeting to voice their opposition for the proposed Abele Woods Residential Subdivision, the board voted unanimously to grant final approval to the project during the meeting. [Read more…]
BALLSTON – Walmart’s Director of Corporate Communications for the Northeast Division released a statement Wednesday announcing that the company had decided not to move forward with plans to develop a new store in the Town behind the McDonald’s on Route 50. [Read more…]
Lang Media appeared before the Ballston Planning Board on April 24 to ask for two more billboard signs, one of them digital, where two signs already exist, in the only area in town zoned for them. The area is on Mourningkill Drive, just off Route 50.
While the planning board indicated they would not be opposed to two more signs, three of the members had an issue with the digital sign, as did three residents who were in attendance. All of them expressed the opinion the digital sign would be distracting for drivers and the lights would be distracting for neighbors.
“We pride ourselves as a rural community, but all we want to do is build, build, build,” said resident Joanne Lorenc.
Resident Ann Pierce agreed with her. “These signs would cheapen the town’s image,” she said.
David Leavitt put it even more succinctly. “We are not Las Vegas,” he said.
Board member Joan Eddy voiced what some of the other board members felt.
“Are we that kind of community that wants those signs?” she asked. “We want to maintain the rural concept of our town. I don’t want to see the same message flashing every six minutes.”
Eddy was also concerned about the distraction the sign might cause to drivers.
“That area is 55 miles per hour,” she said. “That is too fast to have this sign located there.”
The other board members against the digital signs were Jeffrey Cwalinski and chairman Dick Doyle.
“I don’t see it fitting the rural area,” Doyle said.
Planning Board attorney Peter Reilly pointed out the town code may not permit the proposed digital sign, especially since it would be facing the street.
Under section 138-35 of the town code, the lighting source of a sign shall not be visible from any street or adjoining property.
“When you tell me that the LED light source on the digital sign is facing the street, it looks like you’re in violation of this code,” Reilly said.
Michael Lang, who represented Lang Media, suggested New York State does not consider digital signs to be moving signs.
Another concern for the board was the potential for increased accidents.
“This one here, I think distracts attention,” Doyle said. “As you are going up hill, the sign will flip at least once, taking a driver’s eyes off the road.”
Town Engineer Kathryn Serra suggested the town should have DOT do a traffic study if the town decides to go forward with the new signs.
“It might behoove us to just let the state agency do its job and not burden the board with looking at all that data,” she said. “I’m not saying we should approve this, but I’m saying you can rely on the state to do a lot of the investigating.”
The final objection to the new signs is the height and size of them. The new signs would be 350 square feet.
“That’s twice the size of the existing signs,” Lorenc said. “Add to that the constant blinking of the digital signs.”
The board members who are in favor of the digital sign felt it would provide a vital service to the community. The applicant has agreed to let the sign be used for such things as Amber Alerts.
“This would be a tremendous public benefit,” said board member Derek Hayden.
The board split four-three in favor of the new signs, but in the end, the public will have another chance to voice their opinions because the town inadvertently neglected to send out the notices for a public hearing on the proposed signs.
A public hearing will be held on May 29 at 7:30 p.m.
To contact the reporter on this story email email@example.com
To contact the editor on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org