Kepert Sponsors Sign Legislation to Remove Visual Blight along Brookhaven’s Commercial Corridors

Sign Code Amendment will Improve the Aesthetics of Brookhaven Roadways

Farmingville, NY – Councilwoman Connie Kepert received the full support of the Town Board for a code amendment that will simplify the sign code and help clean up our roadways, while providing business owners who utilize signs to advertise their products and services ample time to come into conformance with the new code. “There is an old saying that when every one shouts no one is heard. That is the case along many of Brookhaven corridors that are unfortunately littered with signs,” stated Councilwoman Kepert.

Councilwoman Kepert worked closely with the Town’s Law Department to review the code and identify problems and discrepancies within the code. Due to several code revisions the sign code was not uniform. 

Depending on which section of the code that is being interpreted, applicants seeking permission to install signs or legalize existing signs have been directed to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals or the Planning Board. These discrepancies made it overly complicated for those seeking permission to install signs as well as for Town staff to enforce the sign code.

These issues with the code resulted in the proliferation of illegal signs scattered throughout the town. “It’s the proliferation of signage that is the problem. If you drive along Route 112 or Middle Country Road or Montauk Highway; there is just a blizzard of signs and that benefits no one, not the community nor businesses” stated Kepert.

Instead of creating frustration and confusion, the code revisions have made the code easy to understand for those who want to get a sign permit. That will separate those who want to do the right thing from those who are in clear violation of the code.” stated Councilwoman Kepert.

The code revision is compassionate in that it includes an amortization period where any sign that does not conform will have until January 1, 2013 to come into compliance before a violation is written. We have also added a provision within the code that allows for a hardship application to be heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

“The amendments of this sign ordinance establish reasonable regulations for all signs. These amendments will protect the public from distracting signage and will serve to improve the aesthetics of our roadways. Brookhaven’s sign ordinance is also intended to serve the public’s need to be given helpful directions, and to be informed of available products, businesses, and services,” concluded Kepert.

Kepert Passes Anti-Graffiti Legislation

Farmingville, NY – Councilwoman Connie Kepert successfully moved forward legislation that will result in graffiti being removed from businesses faster. The legislation reduces the amount of time local business owners have to remove graffiti from their businesses from 14 days to 5 days. Keep America Beautiful, which compiles studies on how to reduce blight, such as litter and graffiti, states that the sooner graffiti is removed, the less likely it is that business will be hit again. Data shows that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of recurrence. “The best way to prevent graffiti is to remove it as fast as possible,” said Councilwoman Kepert.

It is estimated that Graffiti mitigation costs the Town of Brookhaven close to $200,000 per year to clean up. Graffiti vandalism costs the entire nation more than $8 billion a year to clean up. That cost does not include the negative visual impacts graffiti vandalism has on neighborhoods, cities and towns across the country.

“If graffiti is allowed to remain, it sends the message that no one cares about a community, or neighborhood and becomes an open invitation for more graffiti, littering, and crime. Graffiti hurts property values and frightens away businesses,” stated Councilwoman Kepert

President of the Middle Island Civic Association Tom Talbot, who is also a member of the anti-graffiti task force added “Graffiti is visual litter and it has the same, if not higher negative impact on the pride and image of a community.” Talbot continued, “These selfish acts by graffiti vandals cost Brookhaven businesses and residents thousands of dollars each year to restore the damaged properties.”