Westhampton Beach has some issues that are a constant conflict in the community. There is, of course, the issue of the Eruv, which I’m completely againsthaving constructed around the town. But another issue hit the news today that had me scratching my head. The issue is a 7-foot tall fiberglass ice-cream cone statue that has been deemed illegal by authorities. The owner of the cone is Elyse Richman, who is also the owner of Shock Ice Cream shop in Westhampton Beach.
The town has fined Elyse for having the cone at her shop because they say it breaks the rules when it comes to town code for signage. Elyse, of course, disagrees and has since been in a legal battle that, according to CBS News, cost the taxpayers of Westhampton Beach $18,000 in legal fees.
I got to be honest, I could not care less about this ice-cream cone statue and don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s amazing to me what happens in local politics. Sometimes people do things to spite the town, sometimes the town does things to spite the offender, both sides usually have a pretty good argument when it comes to this type of thing, so each side can’t come to a compromise or cool things down.
The problem with this cone is the fact that there is absolutely no real problem with it. The cone looks charming, is kid-friendly and is very old fashioned and classic looking. However, the REAL problem with this cone is that something else of this size would look ridiculous, say a 7-foot tall fiberglass statue of sushi outside of a sushi place would look ridiculous, or a giant statue of a pair of shoes outside of a shoe store would look ridiculous also. But if this cone is allowed, then why wouldn’t something like that be allowed? Common sense can tell you that one looks stupid and one looks charming, but who’s to say that?
The only answer with the law when it comes to things like this is to BAN EVERYTHING, which is something that I find really frustrating with these types of laws, because in this case, nobody cares about a freaking ice-cream cone statue. It’s cute.
There is something called discretion. There is something called conversation. There is something called reason. It’s nearly impossible to break that line of battle when one side is fighting against the other, but I think that in this situation, if each side compromised just a teeny tiny bit, both could be happy.