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K’hook village ZBA says size, not sign, matters most


KINDERHOOK–It was standing room only at the village hall Monday night as the Village of Kinderhook Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) heard from the public about the banners that hung at The School, an art gallery on Route 9 owned by Jack Shainman.

Stuart Peckner, a business owner in the village, came to the board to question the ruling by village zoning Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Smith to allow two large banners as permitted in the code. The banners covered the two brick wings on the front of the former Martin Van Buren School to mark the opening of the gallery.

In a letter to the ZBA Mr. Peckner said that his issue was less with the signs on The School than with the parts of the code that regulate signs. “During the course of applying for signage and reading the sign code it became apparent to me that there were multiple violations of the code existingin the village,” Mr. Peckner said at the September 22 meeting, reading from his letter. He also told the board, “It seemed that several of these signs had not gone through the permitting process as I was doing.”

Mr. Peckner’s concerns involved whether the banners were too big or too high to meet the code and whether the signs were permitted in a residential zone.

He said in his letter that he was “thrilled that Mr. Shainman has converted the MVB School into a remarkable facility that is an asset to the village and the community, and The School was one of the reasons we considered moving our business here.”

Other community members echoed Mr. Peckner’s concerns, saying that though they thought the banners where attractive and enhanced the look of the village, the codes needed to be followed and possibility updated and changed to be more business friendly. “We don’t want to live in a museum but we don’t want to live in a honky-tonk either,” said one resident.

Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons said the signage codes had been reviewed in 2013. He also stressed that the ZBA was a judicial board and that changes in code would have to be made by the legislative board, in this case, the village Board of Trustees.

Mr. Smith, the code enforcement officer, who attended the meeting through a web video conference connection, said he was interpreting the codes for temporary signs to allow The School to hang the banners. “I did extensive research of the code when I let them put the signs up,” he said. He did admit after the public hearing as the ZBA debated how to rule on the appeal, that the signs exceeded the dimensions specified in the code.

The ZBA ruled that signage is allowed in that residential district but that Mr. Shainman would have toget a variance for the size of the banners. Many community members during the public hearing supported the size of the banners because of the size the building, which is 35,000 square feet. “If they were smaller they would have looked out of place,” said resident Chuck Rothermel.

There is a new show at the gallery, which is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mr. Shainman could not put up any new signs until the ZBA ruled on this issue. He will have to come back to the ZBA for a variance if he want to put up signs that size again.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email  


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