Manhasset civics ask campaigns to follow sign rules

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Richard Bentley, president of the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations, speaks during Wednesday's discussion of campaign signs. Marion Endrizzi of the Plandome Heights Civic Association is to the left of Bentley. (Photo by Samuel Glasser)

By Samuel Glasser

The coalition of Manhasset civic groups Wednesday night approved a set of “common sense guidelines” to restrict the placement of roadside political campaign signs, an issue that arises every campaign season.

Richard Bentley, president of the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations, said the placement of numerous campaign signs at high-volume traffic intersections is a dangerous distraction to drivers, particularly when dozens of signs are clustered together.

“We are not talking about people who stick a sign on their lawn. We’re talking about major intersections with 15 to 20 campaign signs,” Bentley said. “We have asked for voluntary cooperation from candidates.”

The council continues to encourage the Town of North Hempstead to change its ordinance “to enable mandatory compliance and enforcement,” Bentley said. “We will also continue our past practice of encouraging members to report problematic campaign signs” to the appropriate candidates and campaigns.

Bentley explained that the guidelines are for the unincorporated areas of Manhasset. The incorporated villages have their own more restrictive rules. The guidelines include:

  • Signs should not be located within 75 feet of any intersection with a traffic light, stop sign or crosswalk.
  • Signs should not be located within 75 feet of any posted official yellow roadway warning sign with messages such as “blind curve” or “pedestrian crossing.”
  • Candidates should maintain a list of locations where every sign is placed and those signs should be removed 10 days after the election.
  • No more than two copies of the same sign should be posted within 75 feet of any other campaign sign.

Bayview Avenue was one dangerous location cited at the meeting. It is a narrow winding stretch of road that runs under the Long Island Rail Road trestle and parallels the southern tip of Manhasset Bay.

The civic associations group last year asked candidates to remove signs from public property. Some were more responsive than others, but in many cases signs that were removed were put back up again a short time afterwards.

“If a candidate can’t instruct staff on taking down signs during the campaign, then how much confidence do we have that he’ll instruct his staff well on what to do when he’s in office?” John Minogue, the president of the Bayview Civic Association, said.

Village of Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno said that the long-awaited work by the Town of North Hempstead to alleviate flooding on North Plandome Road bordering Leeds Pond has been delayed repeatedly by one error after another since it was supposed to start last spring.

Work was suspended when the wrong size concrete drain was delivered.

At the second attempt to start work, it was revealed that the utility lines had not been marked, so the project was halted again. On the third try, a contractor hit a Verizon conduit and before work could be restarted, the construction equipment was diverted to another project.

“It’s a simple job,” Donno said. “We are waiting more than a year.”

She also reported that the Manhasset and Port Washington villages are forming a joint storm readiness group with a command center located at a village-owned building in Sands Point.

“We are preparing on our own,” she said. During the last storm “we were left to our own resources and we are small villages. We can’t rely on the town and certainly not the county.”

Donno also said that overnight break-ins to cars left out on driveways are starting again after a similar spate last spring and that the police have been notified.

The civic groups were also told that the Nassau County Police Department “reports a prevalence of drugs from Lake Success to Sea Cliff” and that packets of marijuana have been found in Plandome Pond Park.

Bentley said that since TD Bank cancelled plans to build a branch at the corner of Northern Boulevard and Plandome Road, the owner of the property has indicated that he was extending the leases for the businesses operating on the site, including the BP gasoline station.

It was suggested that the council should approach the gas station management about sprucing up the site. While this has been a concern, it has been held in abeyance for the past two years since the station was slated to be closed.

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