Local elementary school sign discussed at zoning board meeting

SELKIRK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After months of sitting dormant, the future of the A.W. Becker Elementary School’s information board is still unclear.

A few dozen Bethlehem residents were at Wednesday night’s zoning board meeting. The Town of Bethlehem Zoning Board cited the school district for violating eight ordinances of the local code.

“The state education department – it’s their position, and they’ve informed the school district – that it doesn’t apply and that we should not be subjected to the local ordinances,” Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District Attorney Steven Latino said.

The town sites the school for building the sign on land not zoned for that purpose even though the New York State Department of Transportation already gave approval. Municipal code also prohibits illuminated scrolling signs, which could be a safety hazard for drivers.

“We hear from people, ‘Look at the submissions and decide whether or not to grant permission,’” Bethlehem Zoning Board Chairman Daniel Coffey said. “In this case, it would be granting permission after the fact for the sign to be illuminated.”

Superintendent Robert Libby was not behind the sign being built in May 2015 but said that local code doesn’t normally play a role in the school district’s construction projects. Albany County has recommended the two sides work together to make use of the $30,000 resource.

“They have asked that the school district work with the town because we are neighbors with the town,” Latino said. “Be a good neighbor and see if we can work something out with them.”

The board meeting was adjourned Wednesday night and granted a continuance until a later date.

Legal penalties and fines still apply if the sign is turned on before a final decision is made.

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