Hyde Park School district signs approved

Five new signs proposed for Hyde Park Central School District buildings have been approved by the town planning board despite a number of questions raised at recent public hearings.

The signs include: one freestanding sign each and one directional sign each for both Ralph R. Smith Elementary School, on 16 Smith Court, and North Park Elementary School, at 1593 Route 9G, and one freestanding sign for the Hyde Park Central School District’s administrative building at 11 Boice Road.

The two elementary school freestanding signs are 40 square feet, where 30 square feet is the maximum; the directional signs are 12 square feet, where 2 square feet is allowed, and the administrative sign is 33 square feet, where 30 square feet is allowed.

The three public hearings were reopened Sept. 17 after the omission of a required legal notice for the Sept. 3 meeting. There were no public comments at the most recent meeting, but the board raised several concerns about the number of signs and the locations of some before the vote to approve all of them.

Nancy Forrest of Gloede Signs Inc., who designed the signs, said she contacted the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to request surveys to show the location of signage, but said what she received was not accurate.

“I’ve been doing this for a lot of years and I can give you the location of my sign, I can give you setbacks and all of that; I looked at those [surveys] over and over, and it’s really not something that’s helpful,” She told the board. Forrest said that she took photos and measurements of road setback distances herself and also recorded the heights and widths of the current signs.

Board member Robert Groeninger first directed his comments at the North Park directional sign. “We started digging into this and it appears that that is fully in DOT right-of-way, unfortunately, so you actually have to get permission from them,” he told Forrest.

Groeninger added that he was at the North Park location before the meeting and reported that he had to look under the sign in order to see oncoming traffic. From what he observed, he said, DOT is not likely to approve the sign because of the site distance.

Forrest replied that she has already met with DOT about another proposed FDR High School sign and that she is aware of the need for approval for the North Park sign. She said wanted to wait to do so until she knew the sign had been approved by the planning board.

Groeninger then suggested that the sign be moved to North Park’s southern entrance. Forrest responded that such a decision would be up to the Board of Education and that she did not think moving the sign would make that much of a difference.

Planning board chair Michael Dupree asked Forrest if the Ralph R. Smith sign is also on DOT property and Forrest said she was unsure but it could be on a neighbor, Tom Dressel’s, property.

Dupree responded, “Under Article 24, we do not allow off premises signage. In other words, if it’s on Mr. Dressel’s property, I don’t know how we would approve it unless there was an easement.”

The board also discussed how many signs for Ralph R. Smith were proposed for the corner of Route 9G/Violet Ave. and Smith Court. Forrest clarified that there would be two.

After further discussion about the possible sign locations, Forrest asked whether the board could approve the applications with the condition that she show proof of the final location. The board agreed.

The approval resolution included conditions that DOT approve the locations where necessary and submission of drawings showing the exact locations of the proposed signs, and an easement if the Ralph R. Smith directional sign is on property not owned by the school.

The public hearing was closed with no public comments and the resolution was approved unanimously.

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