Council To Consider Amendments Regarding Signs

OSWEGO, NY – It took less than a half hour Monday night for two Common Council committees to take care of business; even with an extra agenda item being add at the meeting.

At its meeting Monday night, the Planning and Development Committee approved a request by Tony Leotta, city engineer, to have a public hearing for the proposed amendments to Chapter 280 Zoning Section 280-65 – Illuminated and Digital Electronic Signs.

Changes would include replacing “flashing” with “Digital and Electronic” in the title; adding revolving signs to the list of those prohibited (“unless necessary for public safety or traffic control”) and adding digital and/or electronic operated signs shall be allowed only as a steady state light display.

The public hearing would be held at the first full council meeting in July.

“I think that it’s important that in the interim we have dialogue with especially the business owners who would be impacted, so they’d have an opportunity to give us some honest reaction,” said Council President Ron Kaplewicz. “Certainly, with today’s technology, you look around and electronic signs, digital signs are state of the art and going to a static sign would be a big change.”

In addition to the businesses, Third Ward Councilor Cathy Santos said the council needs to “get a read on what the residents think, too.”

“It’s the place that they live. The advertising is for business purposes, I think we really need to encourage the residents of the city to weigh in on this as well because that’s very important. I also have a question  about this and its affect on downtown; are there any signage issues specific to downtown that we need to think about as well as we go through historic review and things like that? And certainly, if you’re trying to preserve the historic nature of downtown, flashing lights is a major contradiction to that.”

The Administrative Services Committee gave a favorable recommendation to a request by Deb Coad, city chamberlain, requested to establish the City of Oswego Sewer Enterprise Fund, which is required by the $87 million Consent Decree.

The decree is a contract the city entered with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to bring the city into compliance with state water pollution control laws.

The fund would be the mechanism to keep track of the income and expenses related to the Consent Decree.

Mike Riley, purchasing agent, requested authorization for Mayor Randy Bateman to sign the agreement with GHD consulting engineers to provide professional services Area 1 sewer rehabilitation (EFC No. C7-6344-19-04) for a lump sum fee of $56,000 and has submitted a proposal to provide an evaluation and condition assessment of the EFMF and pump station (anticipated EFC No. C7-6344-19-05) for a lump sum fee of $84,000.

The purchasing agent also received bids for the smoke testing and CCTV inspection of the sanitary sewers, phases one and two of the Westside Sewer System Evaluation Survey (EFC No. C7-6344-19-01).

The low bid ($12,894) for the smoke testing was submitted by Duke’s Plumbing and Sewer Service.

The low bid for the CCTV inspection ($24,163.24) was submitted by National Water Main Cleaning Company.

Both requests were sent to the full council for consideration.

The committee also OK’d a request by Rita Tickle, personal director, to attend the New York State Public Employers Labor Relations Association annual conference at Saratoga Springs on July 19-22.

Also Tim Murphy of the Oswego Little League Association brought to the committee’s attention the dilapidated condition of the bathroom facilities at the baseball fields at Fort Ontario Park (on city property).

The restroom near the Main Diamond playing fields “has been there a long time” and is in bad shape.

“It is definitely in need of repair,” Murphy said. At one point he described the facilities as “pretty grotesque.”

“It’s one of the biggest complaints that we receive (from others who also use the playing fields),” he added. “It needs to be demolished or rebuilt. What we’d like to do is put in a pavilion, bath house and concession to serve the three fields down there and eliminate the other buildings.”

The organization would like to work with the city to see what it would cost to make that plan a reality.

Councilor Shawn Walker suggested looking into the possibility of doing the work in-house.

Councilor Connie Cosemento made a motion that the city continue to work with the association in support of the association’s building plan.

The full council will consider the matter next week.