15 Sep 2014
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Are Sign Laws Merchant-Unfriendly?

There has been little negative reaction to Barrington's sign ordinances since the issue was raised at the April meeting of the business association.

Are Sign Laws Merchant-Unfriendly?

Do merchants think it is time to revisit Barrington’s sign ordinances or not?

The town’s sign ordinances, often viewed as less than friendly to merchants, became an issue at the April meeting of the Barrington Business Association. But since then the complaints levied at that meeting seem to have fallen by the wayside.

Holly Smith of , co-president of the business association, said at the May meeting of the association Tuesday night, that an email she distributed to members of the association brought no responses.

Smith said in her email: “We will meet with the Town of Barrington sometime in June. We would like to bring with us ideas, recommendations, and ‘war’ stories of getting proper signage in town. If you cannot attend the meeting, please email me with any information.”

As of Tuesday night’s meeting at on Maple Avenue, Smith said, she had not received a single idea, recommendation or war story.

“We want to bring grievances to Peter (DeAngelis), Bob Speaker and Phil Hervey,” she said. “We’ll talk to Peter first.”

DeAngelis, of course, is the Barrington town manager, Speaker is the building official and Hervey is the town planner.

There was some additional concern about signs raised again at Tuesday’s meeting, including what often seem like frivolous appearances before town boards, fees charged simply to make an appearance, legal fees for signs that often run into the thousands, and permitting.

The story of the Salon’s five-month wait to get a new sign after wind knocked down the old one also was brought up again by Smith.

The issue of revisiting signage actually was planted by Town Councilor Bill DeWitt at the April meeting. He said he thinks the current laws sometimes create unintended consequences.That sparked a host of responses.

Bill Dessel, owner of , said putting up a sign in Barrington “is one of the most unpleasant aspects of opening a business here.”

“We would all change the sign if we knew what can be done for the better,” he said. “It could be an easier process.”

Elaine Felag of in the Village Center plaza, said: “I had to be the same even after the fire. I could not change.”

Her women’s shop was burned out about a dozen years ago. She reopened with a bigger store but the same type of sign, she said.

Smith said in April: “I need a new sign but I’m afraid to go through the process.”

Lois Coppolino, owner of and the other co-president of the business group, said: “I haven’t changed my sign for that reason.”

Smith said she would send out another email to Barrington merchants asking for their grievances before approaching town officials. She does not want to push the issue if there simply is not sufficient concern.

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