Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Even the Daily News is aghast!

Well, like Bil Silliker of Licorice and Sloe, I don't know who wrote this in today's Daily News, but it's pretty good at outlining the issue.

The issue, again, is A-frame signs.

Which gets us back to the main point. What is it that makes Newburyport's downtown a place that people feel drawn to? Newburyport prides itself on fostering independent businesses that can't be found elsewhere, and that clearly has a lot of appeal. Yet the independent store owner on a side street has a tough row to hoe. If Newburyport truly wants to be a place that fosters independent stores, it should be proactive in supporting them.

The A-frame regulations don't help. They throw up a roadblock. Isolating the side streets in the name of aesthetics is a weak argument.

A weak argument indeed, especially since the ordinance clearly leaves it up to the City Council to issue permits on a case-to-case basis.

There's much hand-wringing in Newburyport over the loss the city's "character" if chain stores proliferate. Here's an example of independent businesses that need help. Is there anyone who will answer?

Yeah, well ... that's the stickler.

The primary landlords already have some (perfectly legal) lease agreements that hinge on profit sharing, and I've heard (rumor alert) that said landlords are hinting that they might ask for even more.

From a June 7 report in the Daily News entitled 'Common ground sought on A-frame signs:'

Chuck and Ann Lagasse, who attended the meeting and manage many of the downtown businesses, said they are in favor of banning A-frame signs. They say they clutter the street, ruin the historic feel and are only growing in numbers and will continue to further populate the brick-lined sidewalks.

"I do believe signage is becoming sign litter," Ann Lagasse said.

"It is out of control," said Chuck Lagasse, who advocated copying sign regulations from another historical city, such as Colonial Williamsburg.

I don't think anyone used A-frame signs in Colonial times, but I could be wrong!

Just kidding; I know there's a city attached. But who could resist?


Dick Monahan said...

To the contrary, I would be willing to bet good money that colonial shop keepers used all kinds of signs. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures (:-)), but I'll bet there are some drawing. We should look around.

I like the signs. I like all kinds of street clutter. I'd be happy to see a couple of 3-card monte players out there.

Gillian Swart said...

Hmmmm ... I'm thinking that they may have seen it as a waste of valuable resources, but, again ... I don't remember seeing any in that John Adams HBO series, though ... lol

I don't mind the signs, but I much prefer them to the tables outside Richdale, and I hate to say it, the frequent cluttering outside the British place.

What I really think the city needs, based on watching people over last weekend trying to figure out where they were on those little maps the Chamber provides, are some of those "You are here" signs.

I think Tom has a good idea in his post: Make the signs uniform, and find a place for them.

sds said...


i'd agree with DM. I bet they had lots of signs. They even had town criers, try that now and you would be charged with disturbing the peace.

As for Ann & Chucks comments. Yeah, right. Its all about clutter & historic. Nothing to do with the fact that the signs point to your competing businesses.