In order to make their town more business-friendly, members of the Cicero Town Board are looking to revise the town code pertaining to signs.
“Business owners were complaining that our zoning people were being overzealous in enforcement of our sign ordinances,” said board member Mark Venesky. “We were told that signs were being confiscated without sufficient warning [among other complaints]. We agreed to stop enforcement until this new board could review their concerns.”
According to board member Michael Becallo, the code underwent changes recently that made it “not business-friendly.”
“The code had a number of new very restrictive provisions added in July 2013,” Becallo said. “The town began enforcing these laws early this year. Businesses complained of signs being physically taken from the owner’s properties. Several of these businesses showed up to a recent town board meeting to complain about these issues.”
“Based on our economic growth with new businesses the last two and a half years, businesses want to be in Cicero,” Supervisor Jessica Zambrano said. “But the codes office in particular gets a fair number of complaints about signs.”
As such, Venesky and Becallo are collecting suggestions from Cicero businesses to determine the best possible solution. They’ll host a work group at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at Town Hall. The town board has already met with the chairs of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board, which Zambrano said gave them perspective on the issue.
“The next step is this work group Mark and Mike are putting together for feedback from residents and business owners,” she said. “We should also look to see what other towns are doing to compare codes.”
Once the board comes up with a workable solution, town attorney Robert Germain will write the new law; after a public hearing, the board will send it on to Albany for approval.
Ultimately, the board hopes to create a more business-friendly atmosphere.
“I want to permit businesses to use signs to advertise, with common sense regulations as to size, location, etc.,” Becallo said.
Both he and Venesky said their efforts show the board is interested in keeping businesses in Cicero.
“We are a business-friendly town,” Venesky said. “I hope that the board’s prompt response to their concerns is seen as a sign of sincerity on our part to support our businesses and our community.”
“People should know that their opinion and input does matter,” Becallo added, “and that they can effect positive change by becoming involved and to directly contact town councilors to let us know their concerns.”
To share your input, contact Becallo at 701-1893 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Venesky at 396-0653 or email@example.com.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.