There's a difference...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

There's a difference...

...between "here" and "there," and by the latter, I mean West of here.

This is what those passing one well-traveled Westhampton Beach intersection have seen for the past week.

From Sunset Avenue:

The Sunset Avenue view

From Mill Road:

The Mill Road view

(That the signs are even there portends poorly for the commercial complex long planned for that lot and the bowling alley property.)

The sign

Both Mayor Conrad Teller and Deputy Mayor Toni-Jo Birk have brought this to the attention of Building Administrator Paul Houli­han, but since the signs are not on Village property, the owner must be noticed with an Order to Remedy (to remove).

The offending entity is Island Associates Real Estate out of Smithtown... up West.

I wonder how they will react when when they receive the official municipal notice that the signs are illegal and must be removed.

I think back to the early '90s when my then-neighbor to the West decided that they needed a new fence on the property line, part hurri­cane with green vinyl strips interlaced, and the remainder stockade style.

So they simply contracted with an outfit from Medford to make the installation, which is what I found underway when I returned home from my office late one afternoon: three guys in wife-beater undershirts, working surely and deftly, with the job almost completed.

I was mildly surprised as I'd received no notice from the Village that any such undertaking was being contemplated.

They I saw that the stockade part was being installed "rough side out," and realized why... neither the Building Department nor the ARB had been made aware of the matter.

I figured I should say something then, since the job would probably be fully completed in another 45 minutes.

"Um," I said to the closest of the three indus­trious workers, "not to break chops, but has been there any permit issued for this work?"

The man stopped what he was doing, looked at his colleagues with a big red, white and green question mark above his head, then when they shrugged, turned back.

"Permit?" he said, genuinely surprised. "This is 'The Hamptons.' What permit?"

It was difficult to not guffaw at the utter sin­cerity of his non sequitur reasoning, but I kept my com­posure and explained that a Building Permit was required, and that a "smooth side" of the fence would have to face any neighbor.

The trio held a quick conference among them­selves, before the spokesman turned back.

"You know, we're almost finished here."

"I see that," I replied. "I just thought I should say something before it was completed, and you had to come back and re-do everything."

That they understood, and after another brief parlay, they cleaned up and left the site.

A week or so later they returned to reverse the sections of the stockade fencing they had in­stalled, and complete the job the proper way.

The lady of that house never spoke to me again, and, furious that she was forced to look at the "rough side," had her husband put the property on the market so they could move to Quogue.

(Beats me, too!)

But the biggest question in my mind to this day is how could three guys from Brookhaven Town assume that "The Hamptons" had lax or no Building Codes in force.

Perhaps that mindset extends farther West into Smithtown as well?

As the French say: "vive la différence!"


1. Glenn Dorskind said...

Good job, Dean! Those signs are so ugly they almost ruined my walk the other day. Then I turned to my beautiful wife and I was happy again.

I know each of those feelings, Glenn.

2. Ray Overton said...

And yet in just a few short weeks, the Village will be littered with dozens (or possibly) hundreds of temporary, unsecure campaign signs. Quite frankly those are all uglier, multiple times per year they appear through our community. Double standard?

On whose part, Ray?

I would point out that political campaign signs are permitted under the code, and are therefore (operative word here) legal. The two signs in question are illegal, and are more like billboards.

You're very much of a ornery mindset of late... aside from the ill-advised Knicks trade last month, anything else in particular bothering you?

3. Jeanne Speir said...

I'm with Ray here. I think we should ban those gawdawful red white and blue eyesores! There are still two large signs from the last general election, (flattened on private property grass) for Randy Altschuler and "Dump Bishop" that I pass while walking the dogs.

Months before Primary Day, Chris Cox' team spammed the Indian Summer highway landscape with never-ending political signage. He didn't win, either. An afternoon skip down Google Lane today, AFTER one avoids the advertisements for cheap political signs, seems to support the premise that they really don't work very well. So why bother?

They never used to be a feature of Village Elections 'til Tim Laube introduced them in 2004... and won decisively! They've been used in every local election since... say, you don't suppose.........

4. Ray Overton said...

Ah yes, the political signs are legal (thanks to laws written by OMG politicians and are deemed to be "free speech" by the courts manned by either politicians or legal minds appointed by politicians. And those political signs can be the same size as the two "billboards" posted on private property. Just trying to point out some of the hypocrisy in the sign ordinance. Quite frankly, I don't like these real estate signs, but I detest the political signs, primarily because of the indiscriminate and irresponsible way they are posted by either the named politician or their supporters. Hell, drive around the community and you can find political signs up for candidates that haven't run in years.

As far as my ornery attitude, it's because the Knicks are losing games they should be winning.

  1. I believe that you are mis-reading the Village Sign Ordinance (§197-30).
  2. You should have been at the Village Board Meetings and Work Sessions when the "Real Estate Signs" revisions were discussed... probably the only contentious part of the new, yet-to-be adopted law.
  3. I understand... but the Knicks of 1978-1980 couldn't win with three big front court players, Haywood, McAdoo and McMillian even with Butch Beard and Earl Monroe bringing the ball up, how are they expected to do it with just the two and one injured guard?
They gave away the store in the deal with Denver!
– Dean

5. Rich said...

Permits, smooth side facing the neighbor, etc., etc., etc. A nice reminder of what I happily left behind.

Your choice, or did they run you out of the neighborhood?

6. Rich said...

When one considers having to live under the collective yoke of Federal, State, County, Town, Village and City laws, coupled with the assorted rules, regulations and guidelines of their agencies, living in the land of the free becomes a joke. Adding zoning ordinances controlling fence height and "texture" enforced by the uniformed harpies of compliance should be enough to push any freedom-loving person over the edge.Flee or fight, it became apparent the average East Ender had become too conditioned to buck the tide, and flight won out.

We must discuss your Libertarian Utopia sometime.

7. Rich said...

When choosing one's utopia I prefer the Libertarian version over the progressives egalitarian utopia. If time travel ever becomes a reality I would consider moving back to the 1970s version of the East End (minus inflation and Jimmy Carter, of course). Live and Let Live, Mr.S

8. Jim Cordo said...

Just an example how things have changed. When we bought the Il Piccolo Pomo building, there was a pre-existing six foot clown on the roof. The Village ok'd my sign, which was about three square inches too big by code, in exchange for losing the clown. [lmao]

Good accommodation!

Gotta tell ya, I miss your Uncle Mike's cooking.

9. Graham Dickson said...

As an immigrant son of a cleric, my dad chose the manse in East Moriches over the manse in Remsenburg and I grew up in Brookhaven Town. I agree the signage is ugly, but when East Moriches was full of ducks and Eastport had the world's largest duck processing plant, East Moriches on the Bay was wonderfully quiet in the Summer - except on Memorial Day when traffic stopped on Montauk Highway with all those folks going out to the "Hamptons." One got used to the duck down in the air and the gentle odor of duck manure as a part of Summer. Funny the things you can come to miss.

Hadn't thought of it in decades, but a memorable feature from my youth of the five mile drive from home to our friends' tennis court on Basket Neck Lane, was the smell as we crossed the two small bridges bracketing Brushy Neck on South Road.

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