The East Hampton Village Board heard from both supporters and opponents of a law that would shrink the size of street-side real estate signs, but ultimately decided to put off a decision for at least another month.
The board is considering restricting the size of real estate signs more than the code already does — going from a total of 7 square feet down to 1.5 square feet. Shelter Island and in Palm Beach, FL, have already enacted regulations requiring smaller signs.
Sarah Minardi, a vice president with Saunders Real Estate and a village resident, said the change would be dramatic. She brought a sign used in the village currently that measured 16 inches by 24 inches to show what it looks like. “Where 7 square feet may be successful, we feel that 1.5 square feet is very small,” she said, adding that she believes it won’t showcase the house for sale enough.
Minardi also wanted to know why the board wasn’t trying to restrict builder, architect, and political signs the same way as real estate signs.
Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said, “It’s not the intent of the board to single out a particular industry or profession.”
There was a mistake on the original agenda that included other industry signs, but the hearing was publicly noticed only to include real estate signs. However, the board would discuss limiting other signs at its next work session.
Meanwhile, some brokers supported making real estate signs smaller. JB D’Santos of Brown Harris Stevens, who has also lived in the village for 13 years, said bigger signs interfere with the beauty of the village. “The sign per say isn’t the main problem, but the addition of the riders and no enforcement,” he said.
In a letter to the board, Randy Parsons, a certified planner, likened the move to when highway billboards were phased out int he 1970s to help improve and protect aesthetics. “It is not necessary for the roads, fences and buildings [in] hamlets and villages to be lined with large, colored, eye catching real estate signs.”
He said it “changes our beautiful landscape into a market place.”
John Gicking, who manages Sotheby’s in East Hampton, applauded the board. Sotheby’s already uses the smaller signs. He said there is plenty of other ways for prospective buyers to find homes.
The board also received written correspondence from several brokers.
Stuart Epstein, the managing director of Devlin McNiff Halstead Property, said he saw no business threat from enacting the law.
He did ask that the board allow at least 90 days from when the law takes effect for brokers to be compliant. The mayor said at the meeting that the board was amenable to such a request.
The Ladies Village Improvement Society of East Hampton also lent its support to the board.