Business owner challenges Development Review Board regarding sign

MANCHESTER — A Manchester business owner is appealing a decision by the town's Zoning Administrator claiming that a sign in front of his property does not meet regulations.

Andrew Tarantino, owner of A Safe Place Storage, is adamant that a sign in front of his business Vermont Vacation Rentals does not violate zoning regulations.

"I erected a residential sign following all of the regulations," said Tarantino, who rents vacation homes located just off of Vermont 7A North, separate from his storage business. These vacation homes adjoin his own property, with neither visible from the roadway. "It says in the regulations that a residential sign does not require a permit."

Tarantino alleges that Town Zoning Administrator Janet Hurley insisted the sign be taken down, as it violated restrictions on commercial advertising in a residential zone.

Though town regulations state that the construction and erection of a sign requires a permit, Tarantino cites a clause in town regulations that states that residential signs do not require a permit.

"My interpretation is that those are commercial signs and they need a permit, and he has appealed that decision," said Hurley, who could not comment further until Tarantino's appeal on August 16.

"The sign is there to direct my tenants to a home that you can't see from the roadway. I designed and built these homes myself," said Tarantino, who included a web domain for Vermont Vacation Rentals on the sign as well as the address of his home, which is not visible from the roadway. "I get elderly tenants who come here for short term rentals, and they do amazing things like spend money in town, dine in the restaurants, shop in the stores."

Tarantino claims that the sign serves a purely functional, rather than commercial, purpose.

"I put up a sign for safety purposes and directional purposes for my tenants and for responders in case of an emergency," said Tarantino. "I disagree with the Zoning Administrator's interpretation of the regulations, and so I'm going to appeal her decision."

The town of Manchester's regulations on signs has been contentious in the past, with some businesses claiming that limits on things like "Open" flags are a hindrance to commerce.

In Section 9 of Manchester's Land Use and Development Ordinance, sign regulations are described as a way to maintain the town aesthetic.

The Ordinance states that regulation serves to "preserve and improve the existing attractive aspects of the Manchester environment, to promote the welfare, convenience and safety of its inhabitants and visitors, to conserve the value of property, and to encourage a style and scale of outdoor advertising that is compatible with a tourist-oriented economy and the more attractive features of the Manchester townscape."

Tarantino's appeal will be heard at a public hearing of the Development Review Board on Wednesday, August 16 a 7:30 p.m. The hearing will be held at the Manchester Town Hall.

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.


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