The Village of Homer held a public hearing regarding the proposed LED signage law that will eventually go into effect sometime this year at the Homer Town Hall on Tuesday, January 30th.
Before the meeting opened for public comment, Homer Mayor Hal McCabe spoke on how the village recognizes this is a sensitive discussion considering the historic nature of the Village of Homer.
“Understanding this is a very sensitive area. A big walking area and historic district. We are very sensitive to the fact that this has to be done right. I think probably everyone in this room at the end of the day shares the same sort of general desire for the outcome. Which is not to damage the character of the village. ” Mayor Hal said during the beginning of the public hearing.
Hal continued to say that the signs currently in place are plastic signs that also light up and are not considered historic, and the village understands the need to move with the times as LED lighting becomes more popular.
The Mayor also noted that the village does not want LED signs that are flashing, blinking or have a motion in them. The village would look to allow signs that are static and also in a permanent enclosure that would take the characteristics of the building it is in front of.
Regulations would also be in place for how bright the sign can be at night and how often the sign would change its message.
“I personally don’t think that the message on the sign should change more than once per hour.” – Hal continued.
After the mayor spoke, the floor was open to residents of the Village of Homer for public comment on the proposed law. The first to speak was Martin Sweeney, a local historian of the village.
Sweeney spoke of his opposition to the LED signs, but also noted he understood the changing of times. He mentioned that the village should maintain a commitment it made back in the 1970s of maintaining the historic district. He also spoke that if LED signs were to be allowed, they must adhere to strict regulations including being enclosed in frames or structures that match nearby architectural elements.
It was noted after Mr. Sweeney finished speaking that the Village of Homer does not have in place an LED signage law and the proposed law currently is a draft. Mayor McCabe also spoke that the resolution of the signs would be a higher resolution than what is compared with other LED signs throughout the county and re-stated the signs would be dimmed at night.
The three organizations looking to construct an LED sign are the Homer Fire Department, Homer Legion, and the Center for the Arts. The Center, though, stated they would be fine without an LED sign, and if they did decide to construct one that it wouldn’t be anytime soon.
Public comments continued from residents with concerns ranging from affecting the historical asset that is Homer, Advertising of Cannabis, the current signs in place are already effective, to the government watching citizens via cameras.
It was noted during the meeting the concern regarding Cannabis advertising was actually directed to the proposed billboards along I81, which is in the Town of Homer’s jurisdiction. It is also noted by WXHC: for the state of New York, it is illegal to advertise cannabis on billboards and would not be possible.
A representative from the American Legion stated their reasonings for a new LED sign. The new sign would allow the Legion to better communicate with village residents. The Legion would also want to modernize their signage without “inflicting damage to this community” and have been looking at signs that are less aggressive in terms of light projection or display when someone is looking at it. The new sign would also have a smaller footprint than the current sign in place in front of the Legion.
Those in favor of the LED signs spoke how the organizations looking to replace their current signage with LED signs should be allowed to. The signs would allow them to continue to operate and help Homer avoid a “dying downtown district” that other towns and villages have faced.
Don Ferris brought up the signs would have more than one purpose, one is to advertise whatever the organization is marketing for and then the other being a way-finder to identify the business/church/organization.
“If you’re driving through and there is an illegible sign at the Center for the Arts now you’re going to create traffic jams looking around trying to find where the Center for the Arts is.” Ferris said during the public hearing.
An idea was brought up during the public hearing for those who oppose it that the regulations put in place for the signs could include the color pallet of the lettering on the sign, the wordage reflecting the same size and font as the current signs.
After nearly an hour and a half of public discussion regarding the proposed law Mayor McCabe said more homework is to be done regarding the law, that the village will not blind side residents, more discussions will be held, and the Village of Homer will not rush this process.