By any standard it is a large number: East Hampton Town ordinance enforcement and other personnel have removed some 151 illegal signs from the public right-of-way in recent weeks.
That the number was so high is hardly a surprise. Previous town administrations had tolerated, if not encouraged, a certain studied lethargy in enforcement of many regulations. The chaos now is finally coming to an end under the leadership of Supervisor Larry Cantwell, who, having managed East Hampton Village in a by-the-book manner as its administrator, is now bringing order to Town Hall.
Though prohibited for decades, off-premises signs had been ignored by officials. The allowed commercial festoonery sent an unmistakable message to businesses that almost anything would be tolerated as long as it was in the interest of making money. Supposedly good for the economy, looking the other way undermined the town code and led to all kinds of bigger violations.
The message of the 151 signs should be taken seriously by everyone here. Successive generations of East Hampton Town Board members worked hard on a regulatory structure designed to protect residents’ interests first and foremost and to assure fair play and good neighborliness among businesses. The sign removal effort is an unmistakable promise that the law matters and will be enforced.