Drivers will no longer be distracted by makeshift advertisements posted on utility poles, trees, fences and anywhere else businesses post placards in the Town of Hempstead after the board made such postings illegal last month.
The town board passed the measure at their May 15 meeting. Businesses found in violation could be fined $250 for each sign found.
The new town code went into effect at the beginning of June and came with a two-week grace period, although one critic questions how effective the law will be once it’s enforced as of this week.
“These signs are an assault on our area’s suburban character, creating an eyesore, impairing visibility, distracting drivers and blighting neighborhoods,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray.
Many surrounding townships, such as Huntington, Islip, North Hempstead and Brookhaven, have similar regulations. Hempstead’s law does not pertain to campaigning advertisements, garage sale signs or flyers the public posts.
Tony Lalli, of Oceanside, who said he has called the town repeatedly to complain about business signs on utility poles, expressed skepticism about the law.
“When are they going to take them down and who is going to take them down?” he said, referring to the advertisements as “graffiti.”
“Go down Grand Avenue, Scranton Avenue, go to Oyster Bay, go to Baldwin there are advertisements covering utility poles everywhere,” he said.
This bill is not an attack on local businesses, according to Murray. Instead, she proposes that businesses become members of their local chamber of commerce in order to promote their products.