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ZBA grants approval for illuminated sign at Old Steeple Church

Following a public hearing Thursday evening, the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals granted a variance to allow a new illuminated sign at Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue.

The proposed sign, according to church council member Keith Young, would be of similar size to the current freestanding sign and feature a four-line letterboard and internal lights.

According to Riverhead Town Code, internally illuminated and neon signs are not permitted in Village Center, Hamlet Center, Rural Corridor and Rural Neighborhood  Business Districts. Old Steeple Church, located on the Main Road in Aquebogue, is zoned Village Center.

“We think the sign is pretty conservative, not very loud or offensive even though it might have the internal box,” Mr. Young explained during the public hearing.

He said church volunteers put in “significant planning” before learning it wouldn’t be allowed. “We wanted to see if we could get it through before we have to go back to the drawing board,” Mr. Young said.

One day prior, the Architectural Review Board rejected the idea.

“They pretty much said they would definitively not recommend this to be approved,” Mr. Young said.

ZBA Chairman Fred McLaughlin pointed out that Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, located just down the road from Old Steeple, has a similar illuminated sign.

“It’s fine by me,” Mr. McLaughlin said.

The variance was approved 4-1, with Frank Seabrook casting the lone vote against.

Photo credit: Tara Smith

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