Monday, March 12, 2012

Call the Taste Police!

The new alcohol emporium on Green Street offends in different ways. Some find it offensive that the developers thought the 3,960 people of legal drinking age in Hudson were such boozers that they needed yet another source of beer, wine, and liquor. Others find it offensive that the Planning Commission had no problem with locating this establishment in such close proximity to the First Reformed Church. But, now that it's up and running, many find it visually offensive.   

Long before Hudson had a Historic Preservation Commission, which some deride as the "taste police," it had a zoning code, adopted in 1973, that regulated signs, both permanent and temporary. The chapter on signs, Chapter 244, is made up of forty-three separate paragraphs addressing all manner of signage. Probably only the code enforcement officer has digested all the provisions set forth in Chapter 244, but here are a few that might be considered.

[244-19] No sign, temporary or otherwise, on the inside of a window shall occupy more than 33 1/3 % of the aggregate area of said window. Such signs, if temporary, shall not remain more than 30 days.
[244-35.A] Definition. "Portable sign" shall be any sign easily moved from place to place on a stand or A-type frame having no permanent attachment to the ground, building or structure.

[244-35.B] Area. Said sign shall not exceed three feet by four feet (12 square feet) in area.

[244-35.D] Limitation of signs. One portable sign will be permitted for each 100 feet of street frontage of the premises on which said sign or signs are located; provided, however, that a maximum of only two such signs shall be permitted.  

The code [244-3] indicates that all signs require a permit from the building inspector, and it may well be the case that each of the signs has passed muster with the Code Enforcement Office, but the collective impact of all the signs on and around this establishment violates one of the goals of regulating signage stated in the city code: "to preserve the basically residential character of this community" [244-25]. If, in fact, all this signage is lawful and permitted, perhaps it's time to revisit and amend Chapter 244. 


  1. Instead of yet more booze - this location near DSS and closer to Greenport might have been an opportunity to rehab for that homeless shelter.

  2. What might have been is past. Would could be is something less garish. And it would be very good to know if all this really passes code.
    What's next? An "adult" bookstore?

  3. Well, not for that site, Bob. Chapter 325.28.1 of the code, added in 2008 after the Lone Wolf experience, carefully restricts where "adult" bookstores and other such "adult entertainment" businesses may be located in the city.

  4. I just drove by this store today. Apart from the colors making me think the sun was shining on a grey and chilly day, a quick glance at the windows in passing dazzled my eyes which should have been on the road. I do hope the building inspector points out the code which says "[244-19] No sign, temporary or otherwise, on the inside of a window shall occupy more than 33 1/3 % of the aggregate area of said window. Such signs, if temporary, shall not remain more than 30 days." I hope the 30 days are up.

  5. I for one like this place. They have a great selection in both stores, their prices are reasonable, and the guys who run this place could not possibly be any friendlier or more helpful. As to the exterior, it's no more or less garish than McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts, or half of the businesses on Warren Street if you really look at it. If we're going to talk about eye catching signage, I'm certain we could just as easily apply a lot of arcane standards to Davi's Delights just across the street and find any number of reasons to complain. The whole point of signage and bright colors is to catch the eye in the first place,and it isn't like the fiftieth or sixtieth time you drive past this store it will continue to startle you enough to take your eyes off the road, either. Nothing was there for a long time, and now something is. Your eyes and your expectations will grow used to it over time. They probably already have, if you've seen this place enough times to notice the percentage of their windows taken up by temporary signage. Besides, if this code was strictly enforced, what's to stop a shop owner from taking down one temporary sign after thirty days and simply replacing it with a new temporary sign, thus beginning a new thirty day period? As for me, I like having a place to get a decent bottle of wine or a tasty microbrew at a decent price in walking distance to my house, and I like being able support local merchants who are helpful and courteous to their customers. I say more power to the new wine/liquor and beer stores, and I both welcome them to Hudson, and wish them continued success.

  6. I honestly think the place looks like a circus building or something...and to the guy who wrote they are friendly....NO they are not,you walk in their and they follow you around,the prices are more than other places and ive found expired beer on the shelves.