Homer to hold public hearing on proposed LED sign law

The Village of Homer Board of Trustees at its meeting on Tuesday. (Photo by Kevin L. Smith).

Homer officials have scheduled a public hearing for the proposed local law regulating the use and permitting light-emitting diodes (LED) and illuminated signs within the village.

The public hearing – which will include the village’s Board of Trustees, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals – is slated for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 31 in the basement of Homer Town Hall at 31 N. Main St.

“We want these signs and we want a good sign law,” village board member Ed Finkbeiner said at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The proposed law, which is subject to change, is intended to “promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety of the inhabitants of the village by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising, outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types and to thereby protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate, enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community, preserve the scenic and natural beauty of designated areas and provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community.”

“It is further intended to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, provide more open space and curb the deterioration of natural beauty and community,” the dialogue of the proposed law continued.

Three organizations within the village – the Center for the Arts, American Legion Post 465 and the Homer Fire Department on South Main Street – are subjects of the projected law. Each organization is looking to change their sign from clear and plastic signs with plastic letters, to LED signs.

The proposed law will lay out how big and bright the sign can be, along with the constant image change and motion on the digital screen.

“People are very concerned because of the area these signs are in,” village mayor Hal McCabe said. “We want to make sure we get it right so people are not upset about the signs.”

McCabe noted the village’s Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals are involved in the conjoined public hearing next Tuesday due to the dealing of decisions of “what conforms and what doesn’t” for the proposed law.

“It’s good to have that feedback and input because it’s important to take into consideration,” McCabe said, noting it’s ultimately the village board’s final decision. “These organizations need to move forward into the next century with their sign technology.”

McCabe said he is looking for the Board of Trustees to pass the law either in late March or early April, with the goal to use February as a chance to rewrite and amend the law from the original draft. Another public hearing will be held prior to the resolution to pass the law, he added.

“This is a very big deal,” Village deputy mayor Pat Clune said. “We want to make sure we get this right.”