Nov 14, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce asked the village board last week to approve three new signs in the village that would direct pedestrian and automobile traffic to local businesses that reside off the main Genesee Street corridor and therefore are often unknown or ignored by visiting shoppers.
The sign posts, each about eight feet in height and holding multiple signs with a total length of six feet across, would be placed at the corners of Genesee and Jordan streets, Jordan and Fennell streets and West Genesee Street and Kane Avenue.
“Skaneateles is a tourist destination, whether we all like it or not,” Sue Dove, executive director of the chamber of commerce, told the village board at its Nov. 8 meeting. She said the proposed signs would “make the community a more visitor-friendly place” and “bring much-needed exposure to these businesses before the holiday season.”
The chamber of commerce has been working on this project for about 18 months, and members have traveled to other towns such as Cooperstown and Saratoga Springs to see how those municipalities use signage to direct visitors to shops throughout the downtown areas, Dove said.
The chamber’s proposal is to have signs posted eight feet in height on an existing post or a stand-alone post, with up to six signs on each side of the pole. Each sign — approximately 40 inches tall and three feet long, or the size of a regular street sign — would bear the name of a local business on both sides as a way to tell visitors what shops are down which street.
The signs would be made of a polyurethane material that would have a powder-coated steel with black-hammered finish and would last about 15 years, said artist Keith Traub, owner of Gallery UTD on Fennell Street, who will make the signs. They would look similar to the “More shops” sign currently on Fennell Street near Pars Flea.
The signs would be paid for by the chamber and the businesses whose names are on the signs, Dove said, and the only help from the village the chamber would ask is assistance erecting the poles. The chamber also would be responsible for updating the signs as businesses come and go from the community, she said.
The village board members were interested by the idea but had numerous questions and concerns.
Village Attorney Michael Byrne said some of the existing poles in the village are owned by Verizon, not the village, and he was unsure if they could be used for such a shared purpose. The possibility would have to be investigated.
Police Chief Lloyd Perkins was concerned that a sign at the corner of Genesee and Jordan streets could obstruct sight lines for traffic turning onto Jordan Street from Genesee Street; while former village codes officer Jorge Batlle said not only would that sign have to be approved by the village historic commission because it is in the historic district, but a sign at West Genesee Street and Kane Avenue would extend into the Route 20 right of way and therefore must be approved by the state DOT.
All of the trustees were concerned about a possible sign at the corner Kane Avenue because it would be in the village but directing people to businesses outside of the village down West Lake Road. “This one for me is the hardest [to approve],” said Trustee Sue Jones.
Trustee Marc Angelillo said he was not necessarily opposed to that sign, but worried about other businesses wanting to add their names to the sign. “So how big of a sign are we talking?” he asked.
After the meeting, Jones said she was concerned not only about adding more business names to each of the three proposed sign posts, but also of future requests to then put similar signs at multiple other village points, such as the corner of East Genesee Street and East Lake Road.
Dove told the board, in response to their concerns of sign multiplication, that the chamber is requesting only these three signs posts and will not seek to add more. They also will limit the number of signs per pole to six on each side of the pole, and will create a waiting list for businesses who want to be added on. No new signs would be added until another sign was taken down, she said.
After a 30-minute discussion on the proposal, the Trustees decided they wanted to see a scale-accurate model of a sign to ascertain how it would look and how it may or may not obstruct traffic or village aesthetics. They also wanted time to investigate the historic district, highway right-of-way and Verizon pole usage issues.
The board asked Dove to erect a sample sign at the corner of Jordan and Fennel streets on Thursday, Nov. 15, for the trustees to examine. They also scheduled an operations meeting for 5 p.m. that evening to discuss the proposal further and possibly vote on its approval.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.