Are These The Signs Of The Times?

Picture this: It’s October 2020. The New York Mets are in the playoffs. They beat the Cardinals in the National League Division Series. Long Island goes crazy. They sweep the Cubs in the National League Championship Series. Chicago cries. Long Island screams.

“We’re going to the World Series for the first time in 20 years!”

The East End is ecstatic. The die-hards are tired of Hamptons Collegiate Baseball being the best show in town. Orange and blue signs pop up on various lawns. Small, innocuous, temporary signs that say “Let’s Go Mets!” “Ya Gotta Believe!” “It’s Amazin’!”

How unlikely is this scenario? Extremely. And not because the Mets are in such a sad state of disarray that even hoping for a championship run in 2020 seems too ridiculous.

It’s because in many villages and East End areas, signs are an extremely hot-button issue. And erecting a temporary sports sign on your property will earn you, at the very least, quite a few angry stares.

“Concerns about signs come up a lot,” affirmed Georgia Welch, North Haven Village Clerk.

Signs, particularly real estate signs and signs advertising businesses affiliated with building construction, have been in the news a lot lately, as East Enders worry about their size, location and proliferation on properties throughout the area.

“We don’t want to look like Coney Island,” said Chris Tehan, Shelter Island Town Building Inspector.

Shelter Island’s sign laws have been cited as an example of a town that has successfully curtailed the size of permitted signs. According to town law, real estate signs must be temporary, and their area must not exceed 1.5 square feet. Additional stipulations regulate construction and commercial signs, and temporary signs advertising events of general interest are allowed, provided they are removed within 24 hours.

Shelter Island, however, is also on the more forgiving side when it comes to signs. They try to rely on the good neighbor policy, allowing residents to advertise businesses and events, as long as they respect the surrounding area. The key is to keep the signs from becoming a nuisance to other residents.

“We try to make it fair, but keep it contained,” said Tehan.

Across the bay, East Hampton Village is currently at the forefront of the sign discussion, as they seek to limit the size of contractor, builder, real estate and similar home industry signs. The village currently allows for signs to be as large as seven square feet, but the East Hampton Village Board has most recently talked about limiting them to an 18 by 18 inch square. If a new sign proposal eventually passes, it could include a slew of additional stipulations touching on the color, location, amount of text allowed and the time limit such signs can be posted, among other restrictions.

The Village of North Haven has also recently spent some time in the news regarding its sign laws. There was a polarizing outcry in response to statements rendered at the January 7 Village Board Meeting when Trustee Jeff Sander suggested that the village should do away with virtually all signs.

North Haven has been considering adopting a new sign code for a few months, largely in response to a handmade wooden sign marking 114 Ferry Road that has drawn complaints as an eyesore.

“I think he (Sander) said it as a joke,” said Welch. “We’re still in the researching stage as far as developing new sign laws.”

Currently, the Village of North Haven code prohibits, “Signs made of cardboard, paper, canvas or similar impermanent material.” Strike one, Mets fans.

For the record, I’m all for injecting a little subtly into an area often overrun with extravagant gestures of glitz and glam. And I can understand that people don’t want sections of the Hamptons to turn into that house from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, with statues and lawn ornaments littering the front yard of an otherwise manicured suburban street.

But, Mets fans may be able to take a page out of a Tampa Bay Lightning faithful’s book, should the Amazins’ reaffirm our fandom and showing support via signage be an issue. After the hockey team made the 2011 playoffs, Steven Paul, a Tampa- area homeowner, put a temporary white and blue GO BOLTS sign in his front yard. He received a notice informing him that the sign was in direct violation of his Homeowners Association laws.

But Paul zoned in on the positive aspects of the letter—security signs are permitted.

So, he did what any True Blue fan would do, he took a Sharpie to his white sign, and wrote in “PROTECTED BY GO BOLTS SECURITY.” Problem solved.

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