Library's banner plans rejected

After a lengthy discussion about a temporary sign in front of town hall to celebrate the library’s opening in May, the answer given to the Planning and Zoning Commission was simple — no.

“I responded to their proposal — absolutely not; I’m surprised they wanted to put something in that location,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi. “The area is reserved for the American flag and nothing else.

“I’m surprised the Planning and Zoning Commission even talked about it.”

What drew the planners into the discussion was the approval for a temporary banner that hung in front of town hall, promoting Olympian Tucker West in February.

“It was there for a week and a half and I approved it to celebrate a hard-working member of our community, who accomplished something that’s pretty incredible — competing for our country in the Olympics; representing our state and our town,” Mr. Marconi said. “If anybody has a problem with that reasoning, I don’t know what else to say.”

Town Planner Betty Brosius said that the library has the option of making a request through her office to establish town hall as a community sign board, which allows businesses, or buildings, to advertise for events happening “off their premises.”

“I don’t want to get involved in that, because it’s really up to the owner and, in this case, it’s the town,” she said. “It looks like town hall doesn’t want to include themselves anymore in the discussion.”

She cited three previously approved community sign boards — one at the Rec Center, another in front of Pamby Motors, and the last one at the community center, all of which are listed as “special event banners” in their respective resolutions of approval and smaller than the proposed library banner that drew debate amongst the planners.

The banners may hang for a maximum of 10 days.

At their meeting on March 11, the commissioners argued 30 minutes about how approving the sign would open up a flood of possibilities.

“I think it’s a lousy idea,” said Commissioner George Hanlon. “Every month there would be a new banner in front of the building.”

Commissioner John Katz took the opposite side of the argument calling the library “the glue of the community.”

“I’m in favor of glue,” he said.

Commissioner Tim Dunphy also voiced his support, calling the library “the most important part of town” and “a symbol of our democratic values as a country.”

Tris Masciotti of Alexander Isley Inc. Designers, who designed the library’s proposed banner, was present at that meeting and made reference to the “Team Tucker” banner as example of what the library would like to do.

Ms. Brosius explained that the Tucker West banner was a “one-time deal approved by the selectman” and didn’t go through the zoning offices.

Generally, the zoning regulations do not allow off-premises signs for special events, except in very narrowly defined circumstances, such as the provisions for a community sign board.

“Our concern is that if we do this, it’s not going to be a one-time deal — town hall will get more and more requests and then how do we say no to the next one,” she said. “Picking one sign over another puts us in a bad spot, so if we were to go ahead with this we’d have to establish some parameters and push it forward to the selectmen to see what they think about it.”

The first selectman didn’t seem to be in favor of the idea.

Ms. Brosius had asked Mr. Marconi if she should put the item on the commission’s agenda Tuesday, but was told that would be unnecessary.

“The Tucker West banner was a not regulated, political sign that was a temporary show of support,” Ms. Brosius said Tuesday, March 18. “Town hall doesn’t want to have a community sign board so that’s where we are with it.”

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. The Ridgefield Press, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress