Brockport enforces old rule on business signs

November 30, 2017 06:57 PM

With all the taxes, fees and rules, it's hard enough to run a small business in New York State. And so when business owners tell me their government makes it harder, News10NBC wants to find out why.

Jo Matela owns a cafe and gift shop in the Village of Brockport. To get people to know she's open she put out an A-frame sign on the sidewalk. But in October, the business owners in Brockport got a letter from the village Code Enforcement Officer. The letter said A-frame signs "do not comply" with the village code.

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Josephine Matela, Red Bird Cafe and Gift Shop: "To do this at this time of year just before the holiday, really is uncalled for."

So today I went to the Brockport Village Hall with some questions for Code Enforcement Officer David Miller.

Brean: "Why enforce this part of the code now?"
David Miller, Brockport Code Enforcement officer: "Well let me kind of give you some background."
Miller said he's spent the last three years doing major code enforcement on 170 rental homes whose inspections and registrations had expired and another 70 fire inspections. Now he's gotten to the signs.

David Miller, Brockport Code Enforcement officer: "If someone were to injure themselves, trip over one of those A-frame signs, if it were to blow into the road and cause an accident, you know as well as I do someone is going to file a lawsuit and not only will the business owner be at stake the Village at Brockport will also be at stake for the prohibitive signs that weren't being enforced."

Brockport Mayor Margaret Blackman told me more and more were popping up and Miller said "I have to enforce the code equally for all property owners."

But look what I saw in Fairport today. At least 21 A-frame signs on Main Street even though Chapter 408 of the Fairport code says "ground signs identifying individual businesses shall be prohibited."

Late today, Fairport Village Manager Bryan White emailed me writing, "A-frame signs are permitted in the Village of Fairport."

In Brockport, Jo Matela can apply for a variance to put her sign back up. The village reduced the variance fee from $200 to $50. But after 41 years, Matela, a former Brockport mayor, says it should be no more than a buck.

Josephine Matela, Red Bird Cafe and Gift Shop: "With the lack of flags and banners and A-frames we look like we're closed for business."

Matela says she is not going to apply for a variance. So far, one business has submitted an application.

The Village of Brockport is working on a revised code. The village says the draft allows some A-frame signs but the draft is still under review and there's no vote scheduled for the village board.


Berkeley Brean

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