Medina asked again to look at updating code for signage in historic downtown

Photos by Tom Rivers: The marque at the Medina Theatre promotes events with letters that have to be changed by hand. The owner of the theater would like to have an electronic sign but the current code doesn’t allow it.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2024 at 11:36 am

MEDINA – In October the Village Board was asked to look at updating the sign ordinance for the historic downtown and allow electronic signs.

Joe Cardone, owner of the Medina Theatre, told the board he wanted to get away from a hand-lettered marque for the theater at 603 Main St. and have a modern electronic sign with lighting.

Joe Cardone speaks during last week’s Village Board meeting and asks the board to look at modernizing the sign ordinance for the downtown.

The Village Board referred the matter to the Village Planning Board, which in November decided to take no action on the issue.

Not allowing modern, electronic signs is holding some of the businesses back, Cardone told the Village Board last week.

“I truly believe to foster any type of business in this community we need to look at this,” Cardone told the board.

He will retiring as district attorney after this year and he said he will be devoting more time to the Medina Theatre.

Cardone has researched other communities’ sign ordinances that have theaters.

Medina currently prohibits digital and electronic signs. Lockport allows electronic signs for the marquees while North Tonawanda is more restrictive, Cardone told the board in October.

The Village of Gowanda has a comprehensive ordinance and gives the Planning Board and Village Board discretion in reviewing a request for electronic signage. Cardone said Medina’s code is currently “draconian” and allows no leeway.

Cardone tried to get some funding through the $4.5 million Forward NY grant approved for the village but the local committee didn’t recommend funding for the marque, partly because an electronic sign currently isn’t allowed.

Medina Mayor Marguerite Sherman said she would like to get a report from either the Planning Board or the village’s strategic visioning committee on the sign ordinance. Sherman said she didn’t hear why the Planning Board opted against changing the code to allow for electronic signs.

Village Trustee Jess Marciano said she would like the issue to be brought up again by the Planning Board.

Medina’s sign ordinance doesn’t allow “Any electronic message with a fixed or changeable display, which may be changed by electrical, electronic or computerized process or remote control, and may include animation or motion of any kind, words and/or pictures, electronically projected text, images or graphics, and may also include, but is not limited to, light-emitting diodes (LED), video, television and plasma displays, fiberoptics, holographic images, or other technology that results in bright, high-resolution text, images and graphics.”

The village code also states: “No sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing intermittent, rotating or moving lights except to show time and temperature.”