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Francestown

Signs of change? Town to vote on what’s OK on private property

Postings that read ‘Eggs for Sale’ among those currently in violation of ordinance

  • Camirand's Car Care signs that were offered to customers violate the current zoning ordinance in town.
  • Camirand's Car Care signs that were offered to customers violate the current zoning ordinance in town.
  • Camirand's Car Care signs that were offered to customers violate the current zoning ordinance in town.

FRANCESTOWN — A proposed zoning ordinance amendment set to appear on the ballot in March will address the regulations that determine which signs are allowed on private property.

The discussion began this fall when Henry Camirand of Camirand’s Car Care began offering yard signs to customers at the end of October. The signs that read, “I get my car fixed at Camirand’s Car Care,” violate the town’s zoning ordinance. In fact, even ADT security signs on private property violate the ordinance as it reads today, Planning Board Chair Linda Kunhardt said in an interview Wednesday.

When Car Care signs started popping up around town, one customer was soon asked by the Planning Board to move it away from the road, Camirand said in an interview Wednesday. He also said Code Enforcement Officer Ed Hunter contacted the property owner a few days later to tell her that the sign was in violation of the ordinance. When the property owner relayed this to Camirand, he went around collecting signs from other customers, he said.

Camirand, aside from helping touch off the issue, is also in the unique position in that he serves on the Planning Board. While he has recused himself from voting on any decisions related to this case, he did bring it up before the Planning Board. The Planning Board discussed these concerns at their meetings and drafted the proposed verbiage with the help of the public and verbiage used by the state’s Office of Energy and Planning, Kunhardt said.

The only signs allowed on private property according to the current ordinance include real estate or “for rent” signs, political signs during election seasons, signs posting property against trespassing, hunting or fishing and temporary signs directing the public to an event, according to the current ordinance. Any other sign on private property is in violation of the current ordinance, Kunhardt said. Even signs that warn drivers of chickens on a nearby property violate the current ordinance, Camirand said.

Temporary event signs can only be up for 24 hours before and after the event, as Kerry Camirand said in an interview Wednesday. “Twenty four hours before and after the event is not enough time” said Camirand’s wife, Kerry Camirand, while at the shop Wednesday.

In the proposed ordinance under on-premise commercial signs, businesses will be allowed three on-site signs advertising the business. The current ordinance allows two. The “other on-premise signs” section of the proposed ordinance states that “non-commercial signs on private property are allowed.” This will allow security system signs, “we sell eggs” signs and Camirand’s Car Care signs to be posted on private property, Kunhardt said. Camirand’s sign is considered non-commercial since it does not advertise a specific service.

Signs announcing events or temporary commercial signs would need to be taken down 30 days following the completion of the event or project.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

Sounds like a unique town - for some unexplained reason the US Constitution is not active Property rights and freedom of speech can and are limited by zoning ordinance........

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