Ron Savage on signs
Our town manager, Jim Doar, has taken a position in regard to the signs for our restaurant that is unreasonable and not in keeping with what the voters want. At the town meeting on June 12, voters overwhelmingly passed the new sign ordinance. As of today, July 9 the code enforcement officer is not issuing any sign permits and he said that it could be the end of September or October before any new signs would be erected. In the meantime the town manager expects area businesses to move forward through our potentially busy summer with no road signs directing summer tourists to our venues!
We have tried to work with the town for the last 17 months to improve the ordinance regarding directional signs. The town manager has known about dozens of sign violations around town over the past year and has chosen to single out our business and our business only. The code enforcement officer has admitted to me that he writes the violations and submits them to Jim Doar. Jim Doar then decides on his own, which violations he chooses to ignore and just send letters to and which ones he chooses to take legal action upon. As a matter of fact one of the selectmen has an illegal sign at his business which the code enforcement officer is aware of and has ignored. The code enforcement officer admits that this approach is selective enforcement. Is this system fair, are all businesses to be treated the same, I think not! The town manager has chosen to leave the old signs in place until the replacements are ready. Why not allow the new, legally voted signs, to be erected temporarily until the new permanent system is in place?
Selectman Stan Howe told me that the old signs are “grandfathered,” that is not accurate. We, as business owners, have a responsibility to advocate for our business, employees, vendors and mortgage holders. What we have asked for, the right to erect temporary directional signs, is reasonable and should never have turned into this mess.
You will see four new directional signs being erected by the Department of Transportation which were approved by Governor LePage and the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. We intend to follow the new ordinance once the town gets off their feet and implements it. We as taxpayers should be upset with the town manager for starting a law suit against us, without unanimous consent of the selectmen, with taxpayers’ money when the voters have spoken.
We appreciate the support of the town’s people in this matter and are sorry for this mess.