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Old 09-11-2013, 04:28 PM   #1
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Default Businesses unhappy w/sign enforcement

Wolfeboro: From http://www.newhampshirelakesandmountains.com/Articles-Granite-State-News-c-2013-09-04-158391.113119-Businesses-unhappy-with-latest-town-sign-enforcement-effort.html?utm_source=MailingList&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsbrowser130911


Businesses unhappy with latest town sign enforcement effort



by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

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September 05, 2013
WOLFEBORO Mark Anthony, owner of Anthony's Old Style Pizza in Clarke Plaza, got a rude shock at the beginning of August when he received a July 30 letter from Audrey Cline, Wolfeboro's code enforcement officer, asking him to stop using his illuminated "Open" sign.

Citing Section 175-44, Part D of the zoning ordinance, adopted in 1997, Cline wrote, "The lighted 'Open' sign is not in compliance."

The sign with OPEN in large red illuminated letters is located inside of Anthony's restaurant but visible in the window.

Anthony was not alone in receiving a letter from Cline. The same letter was sent to all businesses with illuminated signs in town, according to Town Manager Dave Owen.

Paul Zimmerman, Anthony's landlord at Clarke Plaza, responded to Cline's letter on Aug. 19, writing "Please be advised this red neon sign was purchased and installed by Ted Vathally in 1988 when he opened his Sub & Pizza business," enclosing a photo taken during a 1988 appraisal with the Open sign visible in the window. Zimmerman's point was that since the sign was installed before the ordinance was enacted, it is grandfathered or exempt from the regulation.

Cline responded on Aug. 26 claiming that "due to the poor quality of the copy [of the photo] I cannot identify the sign in the window," and asked for a better copy. Alternatively she offered to come and look at the manufacturer's label to verify date of manufacture.

Larry Kitsios, owner of Louis Pizza in the Wolfeboro Shopping Center across from Clarke Plaza, said he also got Cline's letter and claims his Open sign is grandfathered. "I have had a sign there since I bought the business," he said, well before the law was changed. Kitsios complained that the town makes it hard for people to run a business. "If you go on Route 28 toward either Alton or Ossipee you will see signs pointing you to Alton House of Pizza or Ossipee House of Pizza. Wolfeboro doesn't allow signs like that either."

A spokesman for Care Pharmacy said their lighted Open sign had been removed after Cline's letter was received. He noted that the sign helped people driving by on Center Street know whether his business was open, particularly in winter when it gets dark early and snow blocking panels make it difficult to see whether the store interior lights are on.

Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary DeVries said she had not seen the Cline letter but said Chamber members were concerned about the town sign restrictions and enforcement, which were the subject of controversy in 2010, and that the Chamber played an active role in modifying the ordinance in 2011.

DeVries said the Chamber board would take up the subject at its next meeting.

An inquiry to Town Planner Rob Houseman on the scope of enforcement was unanswered at press time.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:13 PM   #2
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That's great. Stick it to another business owner that is actually a productive member of society, and is not trying to plug his umbilical cord into everyone else. This is insane. I'm sure the Code Enforcement Officer could find hundreds of other, more important issues on which to focus. But no, let's harass the poor guy that's just trying to earn a meager living for his family.

Honestly, with all the taxes this guy pays, and all this BS he has to put up with, he'd probably be better off closing down and going on the dole. I'm sure his net income and quality of life might be better on the dole. This makes me sick.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:36 PM   #3
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That's great. Stick it to another business owner that is actually a productive member of society, and is not trying to plug his umbilical cord into everyone else. This is insane. I'm sure the Code Enforcement Officer could find hundreds of other, more important issues on which to focus. But no, let's harass the poor guy that's just trying to earn a meager living for his family.

Honestly, with all the taxes this guy pays, and all this BS he has to put up with, he'd probably be better off closing down and going on the dole. I'm sure his net income and quality of life might be better on the dole. This makes me sick.
In many towns like this, I find that "Code enforcement officer" is synonymous with "Bored/retired busybody".
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Default I wonder....

how Miss Cline would feel in the sign stated CLOSED - FOR GOOD!

Dumb law
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:06 PM   #5
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Just remember, that Audrey is simply doing what she gets paid to do. And this was brought up a few years ago. She is doing what the TOWN tells her to do. The town is it's citizens, and it's citizens want to keep Wolfeboro quaint. An Old, New England town. Not to become a Vegas looking area. So if anyone wants to see neon signs on Main street they need to go to the town meetings and tell the town that they want to see see Neon, and A frame signs everywhere. I can understand people saying that the businesses are there as productive establishments, but they are not in Laconia. And they know this. They need to follow the law and do business as the town dictates. The only way to change things like this is to ask it be set on the meetings agendas and ask for motions and votes. Someone said on another thread that if you don't want to get caught speeding do the limit. Same goes here. Am I wrong? The law is the law....or isn't it? BTW this has been an issue in Wolfeboro for the ten years I have lived up here. It is also a code law in Moultonborough. Remember when the big lit sign on the realty building at the Moultonborough/ Center Harbor line went up. People flipped out. But because it was allowed it is still there. The businesses need to get together and change the law, or live with it. Just sayin'.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:16 PM   #6
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In many towns like this, I find that "Code enforcement officer" is synonymous with "Bored/retired busybody".
OUCH! that is really an unfair comment. Where did you ever come up with that? In Tuftonboro we have one of the best.

It is amazing that these comments are made for, in fact, for every town. OMG! Really?? Please stop using generalities for every town.

Tuftonboro must be unique. And I believe it is from reading all the negative forum stuff I have read recently.

For instance, let me share with you as an example. Tuftonboro Islanders Association has an annual summer meeting with the islanders to discuss issues about the Tuftonboro Islands and any issues about security, protection and services......

Guess who shows up at every meeting! The Code Officer is there...the fire chief is there...the police chief is there...the selectman are there...Every official is there to hear and have an open discussion about what is good for the island property owners and the town.

From your comment it sounds to me like Tuftonboro is far beyond other towns who have to deal with "code officers and other officials". I am happy to pay my taxes in Tuftonboro and give credit to our officials who really try to make our lives easy and simple to live in Tuftonboro.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:31 PM   #7
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OUCH! that is really an unfair comment. Where did you ever come up with that? In Tuftonboro we have one of the best.

It is amazing that these comments are made for, in fact, for every town. OMG! Really?? Please stop using generalities for every town.

Tuftonboro must be unique. And I believe it is from reading all the negative forum stuff I have read recently.

For instance, let me share with you as an example. Tuftonboro Islanders Association has an annual summer meeting with the islanders to discuss issues about the Tuftonboro Islands and any issues about security, protection and services......

Guess who shows up at every meeting! The Code Officer is there...the fire chief is there...the police chief is there...the selectman are there...Every official is there to hear and have an open discussion about what is good for the island property owners and the town.

From your comment it sounds to me like Tuftonboro is far beyond other towns who have to deal with "code officers and other officials". I am happy to pay my taxes in Tuftonboro and give credit to our officials who really try to make our lives easy and simple to live in Tuftonboro.

Ok....so you might ask...what does this have to do with business signage in Wolfeboro? I work in Wolfeboro and have heard all the sign issues and I have also been involved. It is just the comment made about the "code officers and officials" that got me to respond.

Sorry to get off gotten off the topic.

Now back to signage issues.
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:29 AM   #8
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Just remember, that Audrey is simply doing what she gets paid to do. And this was brought up a few years ago. She is doing what the TOWN tells her to do. The town is it's citizens, and it's citizens want to keep Wolfeboro quaint. An Old, New England town. Not to become a Vegas looking area. So if anyone wants to see neon signs on Main street they need to go to the town meetings and tell the town that they want to see see Neon, and A frame signs everywhere. I can understand people saying that the businesses are there as productive establishments, but they are not in Laconia. And they know this. They need to follow the law and do business as the town dictates. The only way to change things like this is to ask it be set on the meetings agendas and ask for motions and votes. Someone said on another thread that if you don't want to get caught speeding do the limit. Same goes here. Am I wrong? The law is the law....or isn't it? BTW this has been an issue in Wolfeboro for the ten years I have lived up here. It is also a code law in Moultonborough. Remember when the big lit sign on the realty building at the Moultonborough/ Center Harbor line went up. People flipped out. But because it was allowed it is still there. The businesses need to get together and change the law, or live with it. Just sayin'.
Lakesrider:

I agree that folks want to keep Wolfeboro quaint and in my opinion that has been achieved more so than in any other town around the lake. However, one of the signs in question has been hanging in the same window since 1988! It is a balancing act and in this case it appears the town overreached.
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:38 AM   #9
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OUCH! that is really an unfair comment. Where did you ever come up with that? In Tuftonboro we have one of the best.
I came up with it from having lived in large towns, and small towns, and being involved in a fair amount of "town politics" in the past (I served on the telecommunications committee).

Given the other statements above about how long the sign has been around, this sounds like the typical case of selective or poor enforcement. If the town is so worried about infractions like this, maybe they should have some list of businesses that are grandfathered in before previous laws, and do a little research before hassling people with violation letters?
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:14 AM   #10
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Chase is right. Tuftonboro has one of the best code officers! Instead of punishing and being negative, he helps. He guides you through your project and tells you what you can and can't do. I just hope Tuftonboro never becomes Wolfeboro.
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:23 AM   #11
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Just remember, that Audrey is simply doing what she gets paid to do. And this was brought up a few years ago. She is doing what the TOWN tells her to do. The town is it's citizens, and it's citizens want to keep Wolfeboro quaint. An Old, New England town. Not to become a Vegas looking area. So if anyone wants to see neon signs on Main street they need to go to the town meetings and tell the town that they want to see see Neon, and A frame signs everywhere. I can understand people saying that the businesses are there as productive establishments, but they are not in Laconia. And they know this. They need to follow the law and do business as the town dictates. The only way to change things like this is to ask it be set on the meetings agendas and ask for motions and votes. Someone said on another thread that if you don't want to get caught speeding do the limit. Same goes here. Am I wrong? The law is the law....or isn't it? BTW this has been an issue in Wolfeboro for the ten years I have lived up here. It is also a code law in Moultonborough. Remember when the big lit sign on the realty building at the Moultonborough/ Center Harbor line went up. People flipped out. But because it was allowed it is still there. The businesses need to get together and change the law, or live with it. Just sayin'.
So there are no other (more important/urgent) code violations whatsoever in Wolfeboro to which the Code Enforcement Officer could direct their attention and rectify? They have to go after an easy target like this?
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:28 AM   #12
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In many towns like this, I find that "Code enforcement officer" is synonymous with "Bored/retired busybody".
They also all need to go take classes on how the ADA works. The code enforcer in Alton is a tool. He doesn't have a clue and thinks he does!
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #13
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I would suggest that business leaders do what we did in Moultonborough.
We had a town official a few years back who was very anti-business.He was a transplant (not that that is a bad thing)who wanted to change the zoning on rt 25 to residential.Nearly all of our business' are on this road and it has always been mainly commercial.He,too had a vision of a quaint little village with limited signage and landscaping to hide business' from the road.
Some people just don't realize that some of us have to make a living other than working for the government or trading stocks on Wall St.
We need small business to provide jobs,services and to pay taxes so that we can provide generous salaries and benefits to all the government agencies that overregulate us.
Bottomline we organized among other family business owners and voted him out of office.
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:45 AM   #14
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Samiam brought up a valid statement. Folks that recently move into a town and think they know what is in the best interest of the town even though the folks that grew up in the town disagree. Then these transplants ignore the town folks. I seen this all the time and not in just one town.

A big reason why we have Chamber of Commerce is to allow businesses to be heard in political matters as well as collective efforts of businesses in town. If this matter was notice in 2010 and the chamber request a change in 2011, somebody drop the ball? And the selectmen consider it a dead issue and go ahead with it? Sounds like the selectmen in town enjoy 'railroading'. Time to vote those loons out!
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:01 AM   #15
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Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
Now, hey you, mister, can't you read?
You've got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can't even watch, no you can't eat
You ain't supposed to be here
The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside

And the sign said, "Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray"
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn't have a
penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said,

"Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine."
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:13 AM   #16
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They also all need to go take classes on how the ADA works. The code enforcer in Alton is a tool. He doesn't have a clue and thinks he does!
Yup. Maybe my experience is jaded, but it seems that very frequently the common code-enforcement person is someone who often lacks greater context and understanding, and will often fixate on whatever issues bother them personally the most.

It's great that Wolfeboro wants to maintain this village-y atmosphere. And I'd guess that the majority of the residents DON'T want a Best Buy with an illuminated, animated, 12' billboard out front on main street. But I would *seriously* doubt that the majority cares about an "Open" sign in a business window. That sounds more like the kind of thing that a "vocal minority" tends to bitch and moan about.

So, it's quite possible the code enforcement officer was "doing their job", but I'd also think part of their job would entail looking at the situation in a larger context. As Seaplane Pilot pointed out, THIS is the most pressing issue? THIS is what needs time and immediate attention? The code enforcement officer can't stop by the business to chat with the owner first? (hell, you can easily tell when they're open, just drive by and look for the sign )
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:57 AM   #17
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Just because this is the code violation in the news does not mean it is the ONLY code violation going on in town. Just happens to be the one that caught a reporters eye. Again. And keep in mind that this has been going on for a long time. I am simply stating Audrey is doing her job. (She is also the building inspector) If businesses don't like what is going on, as in Moultonborough, do something about it. This code has been on the books since 1997. Why have businesses allowed it to stand for so long? Heck, I didn't like a certain stop sign in Nashua. I went in front of the town meeting and voiced my dismay at why this stop sign was there. No reason for it at all and around 3,000 cars a day stop there. Not one car came to the intersection from the other street. Why was it there? Because a selectman lives on the intersecting street. So it is still there, but I tried....
This is the problem with America. So easy to blame something (or someone), is broken, and not enough people care to fix it. And if this sign has been in the window for so long maybe the owner should have checked to see what the status of his sign was back in 1997 and got something in writing from the town, such a variance? Then this would all be a non-issue. You can never assume you are free and clear of anything now days.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:01 PM   #18
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Seems every year there are town and petition warrant articles placed that restrict land usage including signs.

Year after year. More restrictions. Very few are voted down.
So it is all that vote yes without understanding the full implications of such. Yes and yes there is time to read up on such. But do all?

Anyone recall the lady in Meredith that did home sewing?
She placed a small (very small) sign below her mailbox.
Yep, someone complained. She did not have a permit.
And as I recall (please someone from Meredith correct) her home sewing sign is down and not allowed.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:36 PM   #19
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Seems every year there are town and petition warrant articles placed that restrict land usage including signs.

Year after year. More restrictions. Very few are voted down.
So it is all that vote yes without understanding the full implications of such. Yes and yes there is time to read up on such. But do all?

Anyone recall the lady in Meredith that did home sewing?
She placed a small (very small) sign below her mailbox.
Yep, someone complained. She did not have a permit.
And as I recall (please someone from Meredith correct) her home sewing sign is down and not allowed.
You are so right. Every year there are more warrant articles and they are almost always passed. I often say that no one could possibly know every single zoning law in Wolfeboro. Most people don't know what they are voting for, if it say recommended by the planning board, they just vote for it. I never did understand how anybody can get so worried over signs. I guess I am not very observant because they never bothered me, if I even noticed them.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:54 PM   #20
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...Year after year. More restrictions. Very few are voted down.
....
Anyone recall the lady in Meredith that did home sewing?
She placed a small (very small) sign below her mailbox.
Yep, someone complained. She did not have a permit.
And as I recall (please someone from Meredith correct) her home sewing sign is down and not allowed.
If I were her, I'd change my last name to "Within" and my first name to "Sewing" and proudly display my new name on my oversized mail box. Let them chew on that for a while
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:35 PM   #21
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Wow! This is what the most pressing issue in town! Yikes! Oh, small town America!
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:44 PM   #22
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Change is inevitable. Some are for the good and others are bad.
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:07 PM   #23
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Yep unless you don't call the Murder of a woman pressing. Small town America is a thing of the past in Wolfeboro. With all the drug related and alcohol related arrests in Wolfeobro and the surrounding towns, big town America is setting in. Pretty soon the radical Islamists will be moving in and then it is all downhill from there......Sigh.
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:17 PM   #24
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Yep unless you don't call the Murder of a woman pressing. Small town America is a thing of the past in Wolfeboro. With all the drug related and alcohol related arrests in Wolfeobro and the surrounding towns, big town America is setting in. Pretty soon the radical Islamists will be moving in and then it is all downhill from there......Sigh.
That escalated quickly.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:27 PM   #25
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I'm just amazed that people think just because it made the papers it is the only thing going on in the town. It's like people read the paper today but not any other day in the history of time. This sign stuff is a mess until people figure out how to fight city hall. Then maybe they will find the time to battle the drug and alcohol problem....Which is a bigger problem than signs.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:28 PM   #26
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If I were her, I'd change my last name to "Within" and my first name to "Sewing" and proudly display my new name on my oversized mail box. Let them chew on that for a while
There was a gentleman at Mountain View Yacht Club that had an Assist To Sell franchise in Gilford. He put the Assist To Sell logo down both sides of his boat in 2 foot high letters.

It wasn't long before he got a letter from the office telling him that he couldn't advertise in the marina or run a business in the marina.

His solution: He told them that was the name of his boat and they couldn't tell him what he could name his boat.

End of story!
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:29 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Lakesrider View Post
Yep unless you don't call the Murder of a woman pressing. Small town America is a thing of the past in Wolfeboro. With all the drug related and alcohol related arrests in Wolfeobro and the surrounding towns, big town America is setting in. Pretty soon the radical Islamists will be moving in and then it is all downhill from there......Sigh.
Lakesrider..........

You can be so depressing sometimes....I just skip over your posts...and move on with my positive enjoyable life...Please where is your added value to any of these comments!
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Lakesrider (09-13-2013)
Old 09-13-2013, 11:22 PM   #28
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Thanks for skipping over my posts. So now I won't have to listen to your one sided views and poor sportsmanship anymore. Just because someone does not agree with you or your wife, I assume chaselady is your wife anyways, you feel the need to banter with me. Which is all good. You will find, and I think you already have that I don't back down. However unlike you I don't hold grudges. You are entitled to your view and I mine. At least last I checked that is. So, you have a nice day/night. Good dreams and all that.....

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Old 09-14-2013, 10:40 AM   #29
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Looks like there is another storm brewing in Wolfeboro, too. Apparently the new gym on the corner of Bay/Mill Street is being shut down by the town. Stand by.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:26 AM   #30
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From posting guidelines and Forum rules:

Be Polite
Always show courtesy and respect, even when you strongly disagree with another person.


If you don't agree with something expressed on the Forum respond with your opinion, don't get personal! Your comments and opinions are welcome, personal attacks, insults or flames are not.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:49 PM   #31
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There is always two sides to any story. Yes East Coast Fitness is closed. Code violations were involved. The current owners also made promises to comply that they did not follow through with. Many questionable business practices including the code issues exist. Thier noticed posted on the door blaming the closing stricting on the code officer are not accurate.
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