The Business Improvement District (BID) met July 13 to continue its discussion on setting regulations for Madison Street. The committee continued to explore the type of feel and look that best suits the village’s most prominent retail area.
At the top of the committee’s agenda was the issue of what kinds of signs the street’s businesses should be permitted to display.
“Signs have been a hot issue and have drawn a lot of discussion over the years,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone “Most towns regulate the overall square footage of the sign in relation to the amount of front space the business has.”
Village Administrator, Michael Sturino, flooded the committee with different options and regulations for signs. “We have to think about size, materials, what kind of illumination technique and design when we regulate these signs,” Sturino said.
Commissioner Mark Hosty was adamant about not allowing internally lit signs: “They are bright and gaudy and detract from the look and class we want the street to have.” He argued that externally lit signs are sufficient in getting attention and give the street a classy look instead of Las Vegas-style neon.
The general consensus of the committee was to not allow any rotating, flashing, neon or animated signs. Every business sign that goes up on Madison Street will require a permit with a list of building materials. Those signs that do not comply with the new regulations will be grandfathered-in and will be allowed to operate until they break or need replacement at which point they will need to comply with the street guidelines.
The issue of sidewalk sales also drew discussion from the panel. Commissioner Theresa Steinbach was concerned that if every store was able to display its products outside, the street might look a bit cluttered. “We don’t want Madison Street looking like a flea market because I’m pretty sure that’s not the look we want,” she said.
Some committee members played with the idea of drawing guidelines for which items could be allowed outdoors and how they could be displayed. For instance, one member suggested no tables lined with little knickknacks that look like a rummage sale.
Steinbach responded by saying, “Now we are getting into regulating asthetics and that is very difficult to do.”
After much discussion and deliberation, the committee decided that street displays and sales could be done only with a permit.
The BID also discussed the possibility of seasonal vendors on Madison Street. An example would be an empty lot selling Christmas trees or a hot dog vendor. Many committee members felt that seasonal vendors, especially portable food vendors, do not belong on Madison Street.
Committee member William McKenzie argued that some vendors could help add to the atmosphere. “I can imagine it would be nice to go shopping on Madison with your family, stopping for dinner and then ending the day by buying a tree, it gives the street an interesting appeal,” he said.
At the end, the committee agreed that some vendors would be acceptable but only with a permit.
The next BID meeting will take place on August 3 and Sturino promised to have the previous two meetings work outlined and ready to be finalized and to prepare a strong parking plan for the committee to review.