Village Likely to Shrink Real Estate Signs

East Hampton isn’t for sale, mayor insists
David E. Rattray

    In East Hampton Village, where wretched excess and gaudy glitz can seem like the norm, sometimes less is more. So says Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., who has proposed a local law that will limit real estate signs to a modest one and a half square feet as opposed to the seven square feet now allowed.
    The board will hold a public hearing tomorrow at the Emergency Services Building at 11 a.m. to discuss the new limit, which provides enough room for a name, phone number, and a notification of whether the property is for sale or lease.
    “We’re not trying to affect sales,” the mayor said, when he brought up the subject initially back in November. “It’s about the quality of life and the persona of the village.” Several other resort areas — including Shelter Island, New Canaan, Conn., and Palm Beach, Fla. — have already instituted laws requiring smaller signs.
    The larger signs, which not only hang in front of houses but are liberally pasted in commercial property windows throughout the village,  send the wrong message, the mayor said at the time. “It gives the impression that East Hampton is for sale,” he said. “It isn’t.”
    At the meeting in November, there had been talk by the board about limiting the size of contractors’ signs, but those have been left off the local law for now.
    Similar local laws in other municipalities, like that of Willingboro, N.J., in the mid-1970s, have met with legal resistance on the grounds of violation of constitutional rights, in this case free speech, but the law has favored the towns over the plaintiffs. On Martha’s Vineyard, for example, all real estate signs are forbidden.
    Brad Roaman of B.S.R. Construction Services has already blazed a trail for smaller signs. He has offered three of his village properties as exclusives to whichever real estate agent was willing to put up only a 4-by-10-inch sign on the lawn.
    Ed Petrie and Kelly Nelson from Sotheby’s Realty responded in the affirmative, and the house on Maidstone Avenue currently sports the smaller sign. Mayor Rickenbach also lives on Maidstone Avenue.
    Another property of Mr. Roaman’s on Buell Lane, which has boasted the more diminutive marker for two months, is already in contract.
    “I think it’s ridiculous that the entire community has to look at these giant signs all year long because of the egos of a couple of brokers,” Mr. Roaman said yesterday. “You think they don’t sell any houses on Martha’s Vineyard? It’s totally out of control here. Someone needs to reel in the real estate signs.”
    Mr. Roaman also said that he has spoken to many in the real estate business in the Hamptons. “Ninety percent of the brokers will say under their breath that they agree, they hate the signs, but no one wants to be the first to go to their managers. It has to come from the government,” he said.
    In the current day of Internet searches, he added, there is little need for signs anymore. Buyers and renters look at properties online more than on the fly. “You might drive around and look,” he said. “But when you get serious, you’re going to call a broker anyway.”
    Randall Parsons, a former land planner who was once an East Hampton Town councilman, also favors the new law, and has written a letter to the village board supporting it.
    “Various real estate companies are getting so involved in competing with each other that they become focused on the competition rather than the property,” he said yesterday. “We’ve become spectators of the war by the side of the road.”


While your at it maybe you can ban those hamptons to NYC busses that go through the village and are painted up like a 12 pack of Foster's Beer.
Bridget, keep going with this Brad Roaman guy, he's got his finger on who's responsible for the demise of E.H. Village,it's people like Judi Desederio!!!!
What's ruining the Village are the landlords that would rather have a popup store than a year round tenant. Those are the signs that are offensive to most people. Pointing the finger at real estate agents and naming one in particular is ridiculous. Moreover, the Village has made it so hard to put up open house signs, which are typically there for only two hours, just makes it harder to sell a property. And yes, East Hampton IS for sale.
What is making the Village look terrible are the empty shops from the landlords that would rather take a pop up for the summer than a year round tenant. If they want to do something that will bring back what used to be a charming (and occupied) village, outlaw short term rentals that leave East Hampton Village looking like an old abandoned shack. Pointing the finger at real estate agents who work with the tools they have in a difficult economy and bad market, and denigrating one in particular, is ridiculous and out of line and makes it extremely difficult for brokers to put up open house signs, which are only there for an hour or two. That in turn makes it hard to move properties, and by the way, that is the job of the brokers, isn't it? And I don't know what rock you've been under, but yes, East Hampton IS for sale. In fact, it has already been sold. Sold OUT... to a bunch of greedy landlords who don't give a rat's ass about what it looks like when they're not there.
Gee, do you think shrinking the signs will make up for the empty storefronts left by the greedy landlords who refuse year round tenants so they can take a pop up store? Blaming real estate agents, and pointing the finger at one in particular is ignorant and rude. Get a grip. You want this place to look and feel like it used to? Pass a law prohibiting short term seasonal commercial rentals. Bring back the charming shops that used to be there. East Hampton Village is depressing. And under what rock have you been living? East Hampton is not only depressing, but it IS for sale. In fact it's already been sold. Sold OUT by the very people that are complaining about the way it looks now.
Signs do NOT equal sales. No one buys a multi-million-dollar house because they just happened to see the sign; no one rents a shop for hundreds of thousands of dollars just because a giant sign caught their eye. People in the market to buy or rent will be shown appropriate properties even if there are no signs at all. (In fact, you can guarantee that people will peruse all suitable listings if the only way to find out about them is thru a broker or online.) As long as property owners want to squeeze the maximum rent out of each storefront, Main Street will never return to a scene of everyday, locally owned small businesses.
There are pro's and con's to the signs. However, a great part of the local economy is the real estate industry catering to those in the second home market. Real estate commission that are produced fuel the local economy through local printers, photographers, advertising, design and maintenance. Searching for real estate has become a pass time and activity, not just a necessity of shelter. I am indifferent to the subject matter. However, the real estate market does not need any additional stress. Brendan Byrne The East End Broker