K’hook envisions new rules for digital signs

KINDERHOOK–The Town Board is keeping open for another month the public hearing on digital sign regulations.

The board began the public hearing on amendments that would “better define and regulate” the use of digital signs Monday, March 14 but did not vote on the changes. Supervisor Pat Grattan said the board is waiting to hear back from the county Planning Board on the proposed changes to the zoning code before closing the public hearing.

The changes would define digital signs as a “sign or portion thereof with characteristics that appear to have movement or appear to change, caused by any method other than physically removing and replacing the sing or its components.” The definition goes on in the law to include any “rotation, revolving, moving, or blinking display.”

“What we are trying to do is protect the community from visual trash,” Kinderhook village resident Alexandra Anderson said at the hearing.

Kenny Withowski, chair of the board directors at the Kinderhook Elks Lodge on Route 9H, talked about an exemption being made for some signs, including one the Elks would like to put up. “Not all digital signs have… a negative impact,” he said.

The Kinderhook Elks applied to the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals to update their currant backlit fluorescent sign with an LED sign. The town Building Department had denied the application to update the sign, citing the Animated Sign section of the code, so the Elks came to the ZBA to appeal the ruling, stressing the location of the Elks’ Club in a business district on Route 9H and the need to get information out about their charitable organization.

According to the minutes from the March 3 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, the Elks “explained that they are only seeking to replace the lower portion of the sign which announces activities.”

The ZBA “recommended that the applicants attend the public hearing and let the [Town Board] know their position. It would be an opportunity for the applicants to appeal to the board to consider certain exemptions or provisions for municipal or community entities,” read the minutes from the meeting.

Elks member Bob Cramer addressed the Town Board in support of a digital sign for the Elks Lodge. “We are in the 21st century,” he said of having a digital sign.

Several residents mentioned the Ichabod Crane School District’s recently constructed digital sign on Route 9. The district is not required to comply with the town code, but there have been complaints that the information on the school’s sign changes too quickly and that it raises a safety issue.

Resident Marcia Anderson, who supported the code change, said the Elks could ask the ZBA for a variance to allow the club’s sign.

Mr. Grattan said the board would wait to vote on the changes until the April town meeting to give the county time to review the changes.

After the public hearing was adjourned, resident Matt Nelson asked the board about not having the proposed code amendments on the town’s website. “Public hearing information tends to be very hard to come by,” he said.

He also asked about where the video recordings of the board meetings end up, since they are not posted on the website. He has written two letters asking for this information but had received no response from the town and his letters were not listed under correspondence on the Town Board agenda.

Supervisor Grattan did not answer the question about the video recordings but said that he was working on summarizing the budget information for the website. Mr. Nelson pointed out that there was no budget information currently on the website. “I’m working on it; it’s forthcoming,” Mr. Grattan said of the summary. Following the meeting the 2016 budget was posted.

Mr. Nelson also suggested the board post the information about the recreation director position they are looking to fill. The website says that a complete job description is at the Town Hall. He suggested that more information on the website might draw more candidates. So far, the town has received no letters of interest for the position.

Also at the meeting:

• The town is hosting the KISS shredding program for seniors. Residents may bring documents they wish to have shredded to the Martin H. Glynn Building. Secure shredding will be available for free until March 31

• The compost site in the town will open in April. Residents can purchase a ticket for $10 to bring their compost to the site from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• The board appointed the members to the new Climate Smart Task Force. They include Pat Grattan, Mark Leinung, Kim Grey, Robert Thorsey, Doug McGivney, Phil Bickerton and William Butcher. They plan to meet in the coming months. Meetings will be open to the public

• Mr. Grattan announced that the board has sold the former Town Hall in Niverville and that about $11,000 for the sale will go into a Park Land account since part of the property at the site was a town park.

The next board meeting will be Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.

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