Mayor, attorney

remain opposed to

LED sign changes

WAVERLY ­- Village trustees voted Tuesday to schedule a second public hearing for a proposed local law that would allow churches in residential districts to install LED signs.

The board voted 5-2, with Patrick Ayres and mayor Dan Leary opposed, to set the public hearing for 6 p.m. Nov. 12, despite continued opposition from Leary and village attorney Betty Keene.

The second public hearing is necessary because of an amendment to the original draft that would limit the cycle of change on LED signs to 30 seconds. The Tioga County planning board recommended the change upon its review in September.

If passed, the law would allow churches to install a ground sign up to ten feet high and with a maximum area of one square foot for every three lineal feet of building frontage, up to 40 square feet. The size of the sign exceeds the six square feet typically allowed in the village's residential district.

The law would also allow churches to install LED signs, provided they operate only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. or for emergency notification purposes outside those hours.

Churches wanting to install a sign under the new regulations would need to receive a special permit from the village planning board, involving a site plan and public hearing, according to the draft law.

In a letter sent last week to trustees and planning board members, Leary expressed concern that the board continues to pursue the law's passage, going against the recommendations of Keene and the village planning board.

Keene also wrote a letter to the board earlier this month stating her concerns about the law, arguing that permitting the signs would negatively affect the purpose of residential zoning to "preserve and maintain the essence of a residential area."

Keene also said that in-home businesses in residential zones could be denied equal protection under the law if trustees passed the proposed law.

"I strongly urge the village board to not pass the proposed amendment," Keene writes. "As proposed, I believe that there are serious constitutional implications to passage of this amendment and that passage would be contrary to the stated purpose of residential zoning as set forth in our village code."

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: arenko@thedailyreview.com.