Conflict of interest, not a really hard concept to grasp. Why then does Councilwoman Kelly Stewart, who is also a lawyer, repeatedly vote on issues relating to her husband’s business..turning farm land into housing, a text-book example of conflict of interest. [Read more…]
BALLSTON – The Town Board passed two resolutions Thursday authorizing Supervisor Tim Szczepaniak to send a preliminary notice of intent to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets regarding the construction necessary to extend the water district to two proposed subdivisions. [Read more…]
BALLSTON – A group of locals have come together seeking to protect the rural character of the town. [Read more…]
BALLSTON – The Town Board voted Tuesday to spend up to $50,000 on a parking lot and other improvements at the Hawkwood property, the town’s new park.
BALLSTON – Highway and Water Superintendent Joseph Whalen will serve as the town’s new deputy supervisor, new Supervisor Timothy Szczepaniak announced Tuesday at the first Town Board meeting of the year. [Read more…]
BALLSTON – The Ballston Town Board is preparing to put major subdivisions on hold, as discussed in Tuesday’s agenda meeting. [Read more…]
BALLSTON – What constitutes a moving sign? That is the question the Ballston Town Board is seeking to answer following a recent application, by Lang Media, to install a digital sign, at the only place in town zoned for that purpose.
Lang Media appeared before the Ballston Planning Board on April 25 to ask for two billboards, one of them a digital sign, where six signs already exist, just off Mourningkill Drive, 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 indicated that the digital sign would be distracting for drivers and the lights would be distracting for neighbors. Also, a digital sign could be construed as a moving sign.
The town board’s task is to interpret the current sign law, which was written before digital signs were even invented and only has provisions for moving signs.
Board Member Kelly Stewart, who is also an attorney, has taken on the task of reviewing the town law on signs as well as examine other municipalities in Saratoga County to see what their laws are. She said the planning board interpreted the town law in such a way that digital signs are indeed moving signs and are inclined to turn down the application. However, Stewart says she disagrees with that interpretation.
“It was my opinion that digital signs don’t constitute motion,” Stewart said. “Nothing physically moves and the way that our current legislation is worded, it implied actual, physical movement of the sign or a portion of the sign.”
Stewart also addressed the light that is emitted from digital signs and whether that is permitted. She felt that the planning board also had an issue with that.
“That was a little sketchy to me,” Stewart said. “I would say if you want a leg to stand on as the planning board, and what they prohibited was the motion, then the actual digital sign doesn’t move. And if you’re prohibiting on that basis, you might be on shaky ground.”
Stewart said her recommendation is to shore up the current legislation by defining motion or animation.
Supervisor Patti Southworth also wanted the changed legislation to address spillage of light into surrounding residences.
“We may want to have it mention light spillage so that it does not directly sign into somebody’s bedroom,” Southworth said.
Southworth said other areas prohibit light spilling outside a property line.
“We may want to make sure in this legislation as far as digital signs, the same legislation applies,” Southworth said.
Stewart said the provisions she looked at were mostly for billboards and that all the billboards are all in one spot in the district, and currently there are no residences that would be affected.
“We basically have a billboard district and there’s six billboards and a highway,” Stewart said. “There’s apartment buildings and condos, and they are further up the hill, I don’t think they would be affected.”
Board Member Bill Goslin was concerned that the Ballston Community Library also wanted to install a digital sign, and the signs might change the nature of the Ballston community, typically observed to be rural.
“I think we need something that is going to reflect the character of the town, yet allow these signs to be lit by LED,” Goslin said. “We really need some wording here that is going to allow signs being appropriate.”
Southworth pointed out that digital signs at businesses were different than billboard signs that are digital and the new legislation would need to be worded to address both types of digital signs.
“I think we should probably address them both now and get it done once instead of doing it for one section and not the other and having to go back and re-do it,” Southworth said.
Goslin said all current signs and future signs should be examined for how they would affect the character of the town.
“My personal opinion is that we don’t want to allow Las Vegas type signage in our rural community,” Goslin said.
Southworth is concerned about distraction to drivers and she said the flashing sign at the USA gas station on Route 50 was a perfect example.
“If you drive down Route 50 and you see the flashing sign and watch people get totally confused as to where they’re going and what they’re doing, especially at night, you realize it is very distracting to the public,” Southworth said. “We want to make sure we’re not causing any more safety issues on the road.”
Stewart suggested the new legislation could be worded so the town could control how many signs are put up.
“Many municipalities have a swapping rule where you require eliminating so many billboards for one digital billboard,” Stewart said. “It’s a win-win situation, but you want to make sure they retain the character of the area.”
The board indicated no decision would be made in the near future and will take up the issue at the next board meeting on Aug. 27.