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Village to enforce new sign regulations

LAKE PLACID — The way signage is regulated in the town of North Elba and village of Lake Placid joint land use code was recently amended, and Code Enforcement Officer Mike Orticelle said those changes will be enforced starting Friday, July 1.

The North Elba Town Council and Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees both passed amendments to the joint land use code in May, and those amendments included changes to signage regulations — mainly to prohibit balloons, streamers and similar items from being attached to sandwich board signs in the village center and gateway corridor districts. The land use code requires business owners who want to put up a sandwich board sign in those corridors to first apply for a permit for the sign from the Building and Planning Department.

The amendments also place restrictions on personal lawn signs. A sign on someone’s personal property — on the lawn or elsewhere on the grounds — that features a personal message or statement by the owner can’t exceed 4 square feet in size or be more than 6 feet tall. Orticelle said that’s the standard size of an election sign.

Some of the joint land use code’s lighting regulations also changed with the amendments. Illuminated display monitors — televisions and other illuminated screens, according to Orticelle — that are within 3 feet of a window are limited in size to 30 diagonal inches and have to be turned off between 11 p.m. and daylight.

The new amendments include loosened restrictions on flags. The joint land use code used to prohibit commercial flags larger than 12 square feet from being raised, but that limitation was deleted with the amendments. Commercial flags — with messages like “open” — can only be flown in the gateway corridor, the Old Military corridor and rural countryside districts, according to the land use code.

The joint land use code was also updated to say that any message that’s displayed on a window or attached to a window is considered signage. Window signs can’t exceed 20% of the window’s surface area. Orticelle said that rule mostly applies to window signs that boast a business’s brand name.

While the signage amendments to the land use code were effective May 16, Orticelle said that full enforcement of the code will start July 1. The signage amendments, along with several other amendments to the joint land use code, were originally proposed by a subcommittee of the Community Development Commission and presented to the public in June 2021.

Orticelle said that his department has talked to local businesses and the Lake Placid Business Association about the changes, and he asked newer businesses that got their signage approved by the Lake Placid-North Elba Review Board to remember to reapproach the review board with any changes to their signage. Orticelle said that the new signage amendments have been hard to enforce on Main Street with construction ongoing, but construction is expected to pause for July and August. Orticelle said there are a lot of details to the town and village signage laws, and he encouraged business owners with questions to contact the Building and Planning Department at 518-523-9518.