The interests of business owners and preservationists collided at a June 14 public hearing to discuss signage in the village of Cazenovia.
Deputy Mayor Kurt Wheeler introduced the first draft of the proposed changes to the sign regulations in the village. Wheeler emphasized the first draft is designed to serve as a common basis for input and discussion.
He said the intent of the code committee is "to balance the community's desire to maintain the village's historic nature while also giving business owners the latitude to be successful."
Wheeler also said the committee has observed many existing signs and practices are out of code, and one intent of the committee is to revise the code to bring acceptable common practices into compliance.
Under the old code, a business downtown with signs in the windows and a sign hanging out front would be considered out of compliance.
The new code takes these practices into account, but details still being refined.
The village courtroom was packed with interested parties June 7, including community members and several local business owners who would be affected by the changes.
Anne Ferguson expressed concerns that there was nothing in the code prohibiting neon signs in the windows of buildings, arguing the signs were unattractive.
Trish Bookbinder, of the Golden Pheasant, argued that restaurants in the village should be able to advertise the products they offer, and that local businesses need every advantage at their disposal.
"We're not the Olive Garden. We're not Burger King. We're a small business trying to make a living," Bookbinder said.
She said the neon signs were important to draw in new customers.
"If they're driving through Cazenovia, how do they know what we've got?"
The board continued the public hearing to 6:45 p.m. July 7, with additional portions of the code to be rewritten and ready for public review.