Political signs upset trustee

SARANAC LAKE – Village Trustee Allie Pelletieri may have stirred up a hornet’s nest when he raised questions Monday about whether political signs recently posted around the community are in violation of the village’s sign regulations.

“I’ve noticed these political signs popping up all over the village, with one name in particular,” Pelletieri said. “When I read over the village sign ordinance, did he get a permit?”

“I’m not aware that any political sign has gotten a permit,” responded village Community Development Director Jeremy Evans.

“What are we going to do about this? I think it visually is crazy,” Pelletieri said. “I think it’s out of line to start putting them all up the highway and over in the Ampersand park this early. I think the gentleman should be called and told politely to take them down and get a sign permit for 30 days. That should be plenty of time for the election.”

Pelletieri didn’t mention by name who he was referring to Monday, but the only political signs posted along the village’s main thoroughfares of late are for Franklin County Family Court judge candidates Jonathan Miller and Derek Champagne. Most, so far, are for Miller. Should they have gotten permits?

The village’s current sign law defines temporary signs as banners, pennants, streamers, portable or folding and similar movable signs that can’t be displayed for more than 30 days. Temporary signs are actually exempt from the sign law’s permit requirement, however, “permission” to post such signs is required from the village manager, except for those used for sidewalk sales and other business promotions.

Evans, who provided the Enterprise Tuesday with a copy of the sign law, said his office has generally taken over granting “permission” for temporary signs from the village manager. He noted that the sign law also says no person can put up more than one temporary sign in a calendar year, unless it’s advertising a different business, service or trade.

That would technically mean that a political candidate, or a local group or organization, is only allowed to put up one temporary sign per year in the village. Over the years, the village has obviously not enforced this to the letter of the law, as the streets and public parks are typically lined and filled with political signs leading up to elections, and different groups post multiple signs around the community for events and fundraisers.

Evans said the sign law is something that needs to be addressed.

“We’re fairly lenient,” he said. “We do allow a lot of those types of events to have a few signs around in the normal places. Obviously, depending on how this goes, we’ll have to re-look at how we’re trying to enforce all of it and what changes might have to be made to the code.”

Evans told Pelletieri he’d report back to the board with more information at its next meeting, Aug. 25.