Answers still to come over illuminated sign

FILE PHOTO | Town officials have said the digital sign at the Valero station in Jamesport violates historic district codes.
FILE PHOTO | The Zoning Board of Appeals adjourned its decision last week on the controversial Valero sign in Jamesport. Residents can share their thoughts Feb. 13.

The owners of a controversial illuminated sign at a Jamesport gas station will not get an answer yet from the Zoning Board of Appeals on whether the sign will be allowed, despite the fact that it’s already standing.

Kenneth Robinson, attorney for the owners, told the board at its meeting last Thursday that he believed the Valero gas station sign, at the intersection of Main Road and South Jamesport Avenue, was a continuation of a previously allowed sign that had violated the code.

The owners of the gas station, 801F Realty Corp, have applied to the ZBA for a variance that would allow them to replace the internally illuminated sign with an LED illuminated one in the same location.

The applicant, is seeking the change that would allow a use that doesn’t conform to zoning to be changed to another nonconforming use with the authorization of the board.

But board members took issue with the digital sign, saying the original sign that had been allowed has been replaced with the current sign.

The town took the owners to court over the sign four year ago, claiming it had been built illegally; the case is still pending in state Supreme Court.

“What bugs me is why was the sign put up first and then you come to us for relief?” said board chairman Fred McLaughlin.

Mr. Robinson told the board that the sign had merely been “altered” from the originally permitted one; the board appeared to reject that explanation.

Richard Wines, the chairman of the Riverhead Landmarks Preservation Commission, told the board that the sign was built “obviously, without approval.” The area is especially sensitive due to its history, he said.

The board adjourned a decision on the application to exempt the sign to Feb. 13, when more residents would be able to share their thoughts.

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