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Albion dentist has tried for months to put up a bigger sign

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Karl Heuer and his son Kyle want a new sign in front of their Albion practice to indicate there are two Heuers working as dentists. They also want the address noted on the sign.

ALBION – Karl Heuer would like a new sign in front of his dental practice that notes his son Kyle has joined the practice.

The Heuers would also like the address – 313 South Main St. – listed on the sign. They have been trying since May to get up a new sign.

They had the sign designed. It’s 4.6 feet by 4.8 feet or about 22 square feet. That’s way too big, according to the zoning restrictions for businesses along South Main Street in the residential-commercial district. That area only allows for a 1 foot name plate sign.

However, the Zoning Board of Appeals has routinely approved variances for bigger signs. The ZBA said it would allow a 16 square foot sign for the Heuers.

The Heuers told the Village Board on Wednesday they want the 22 square foot sign so they can fit everything on it.

“We just want a nice-looking sign that people can read,” Karl Heuer told the board.

Kevin Allen, an attorney, told the board it should to change the sign restrictions for the residential-commercial district so the ZBA isn’t forever issuing variances, allowing certain sizes for some businesses and smaller ones for others.

Allen, who is representing the Heuers with the sign dispute, noted another dental practice in the same zoning district has a sign more than double what the Heuer’s are seeking. Plus, the All Smiles Dentistry sign is illuminated at night.

All Smiles Dentistry, at the corner of South Main Street and Allen Road, has a much bigger sign than is allowed in the residential-commercial district.

He suggested the Village Board alter the sign restrictions in the zoning district, allowing an upper level limit of perhaps 24 or 26 square feet.

“You should make it more practical and more realistic,” he said.

Other business districts in the village, without residential properties, have a top threshold of 32 square feet, although the ZBA has been giving variances for bigger signs on Route 31 and Main Street, Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti told the Village Board.

Vendetti agrees the sign regulations need to be changed, to allow for larger signs.

But with the current code, the ZBA is left to its discretion in how big of a variance it wants to approve. In Heuer’s case, a 16-foot sign was allowed.

The Village Board can’t meddle with the ZBA’s decision. The board, however, can change the restrictions for the signs. That would require a public hearing.

Mayor Dean Theodorakos said he supports an update of the sign requirements.

“We’re working on it,” he told the Heuers.