Letter to the Editor: Woodbury Was the Envy Of Other Towns

Residents who violate the town's zoning regulations on signage threaten the town's rural character, these two residents contend.


To the Editor:

We have lived in Woodbury over 60 years. When we moved to Woodbury, it had charm, historic character and beauty. It was apparent that residents loved Woodbury and maintained their property.

And, if someone ignored the zoning or historic district sign regulations, once notified, the resident complied, out of respect for fellow residents, the beauty of Woodbury and the Town regulations. There was a common understanding that we all wanted to maintain this beautiful town and its historic character. We were the envy of surrounding towns.

It is sad, then, when several years ago, some residents started to push the boundaries by displaying political signs in the historic district that violated the zoning and historic district regulations.

Additionally, when there were complaints lodged with the regarding the violation of sign regulations, the issue of "freedom of speech" was used as a reason not to follow the sign regulations.

No zoning or historic district regulation has restricted one's right to "freedom of speech," only the aggregate size of the sign or signs (12 square feet). Since then, we have seen a blatant disrespect for Woodbury and the political sign regulations by conspicuously displaying signs that exceed 12 square feet in total.

What's the solution?

Should we cave in and remove the town's political sign regulation(s)? If we did, what is to prevent the display of even larger and "in your face" political signs? Or even worse, signs accompanied by balloons, illumination, sound, etc.? Let's be sensible. Keep and enforce the present political sign regulation(s).

Now is the time for residents to care and speak out, insisting that the political sign regulations be kept and enforced. Whether you write a letter, speak to a zoning/historic district commission member or attend the . Let your wishes be known!

Norman and Adele Taylor

Erik Grudzien September 03, 2012 at 02:09 PM
It's absolutely crazy that political signs has become a hot topic in town recently. The fact remains that it's private property, and a property owner should be allowed to what they want within reason. If someone is out there measuring a sign they put up's dimensions to find out if it's within this arbitrary 12 square foot limit, clearly they don't have anything better to do. And these political signs are up for a a month or two at best, and only once every 4 years during a presidential election does it get really intense. If it's a plain sign, that's doing absolutely no harm and not disturbing people, let it be. When people are putting up giant neon signs or LCD billboards flashing "VOTE FOR BOB" at all hours of the night is when it becomes something that disrupts other residents and should be addressed. Not some plain sign that is one or two square feet above some regulation. Zoning commission was originally set up to keep Woodbury's small town feel, and it helped and worked for many years. However as of late, when our population has doubled since it's enactment, all it seems to be doing is smothering people's rights to use their property as they wish, and putting a blindfold over people's eyes enacting regulations to keep the town small, where it's no longer small. All it's doing is making life more expensive and turning paying jobs away. (Such as Dunkin Donuts, which would have provided a dozen part time jobs for high school students who now go to other towns for work)
Sean M September 03, 2012 at 04:17 PM
For those who do not remember, Adele Taylor is another of the complaint signers from 2010 on Tom Arras. The sign restrictions have only been in effect since 1996. I wonder what happened all those years before the regulation?? She is ill-informed as to what is really going on. Suppose the Zoning Commission votes to enforce on Tom Arras and then has the town attorney go to court. What will happen? Given that the town attorney has already commented on this, Adele should know this if she did her homework. Attorney Roberts has stated that the regulations cannot restrict political speech more than commercial and the regulations do this. This would ensure that the town would lose in court. Every single bit of documentation points in this direction. I have not seen a single thing that contradicts it. Has Adele Taylor or the rest of the Democrats complained about the other signs that are as large or larger than Tom's? Not to my knowledge. Adele complained about the 32 sq ft Martha Dean signs in 2010. Did she complain about the other signs promoting Democrats? Not to my knowledge. She should produce documentation that she is consistent on this matter. If she is really outraged over these signs, she should have complained every time it is broken. What she and the rest of her Democrat pals are doing is targeting speech they do not like and demanding the government stop it.
Sean M September 03, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I have stated over and over again that illuminated signs are already prohibited under the regulations. Why is it that not one of these Democrats can read either what I write, what the town attorney writes, or even look up the regulations on the Woodbury website? They say the same talking points over and over again. What should the Zoning Commission do when it is told that the regulation is unconstitutional as it is, which is what enforcement would be done under? What should the Zoning Commission do when the town attorney advises to get rid of these restrictions on political signs? Ignore them? Elected officials have to account for the rule of law, the rights of everyone involved, and represent the financial interests of the town. They do not have the right to substitute their wants and desires for the rule of law. That has not stopped Martin Overton before. It is disgusting the way Adele and her Democrat buddies are behaving on this. They lie and misrepresent the truth, do not do their homework, talk about things for which they have no knowledge on, and waste the town's time and money.
catherine September 03, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Is there anyone who can provide worthwhile employment for someone who is computer literate, has admirable spelling abilities, tremendous tenacity and plenty of available time ?
Voice of Reason September 03, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Sean Murphy. I do believe you have another "Fan". Lol. To the Taylors. Surely these large signs can't be new to you if you've lived in Woodbury for 60 years. In talking to various folks around town I've so far managed to trace the larger Political signs back to the 70's when Larry Pond put them up. As far as I've know there has never been an issue until Mr. Arras erected his sign of protest of elected official Martin Overton.
tom arras September 04, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I'd just love to hear the Taylor's reasons for not complaining about Martin Overton's signage exceeding the limits when he made his failed bid for selectman. And of course there were other Democrat displays exceeding the illegal regulation, but the Taylors missed those, too. I guess those Taylors have missed many, many larger signs through the years, but somehow this one has got their goat. "Overturn Overton" wouldn't even still be up if it weren't for the likes of the Taylors and Martin Overton trying to force their way on others in an unfair & unacceptable manner. What liberties do they wish to remove next? The Taylors, along with Martin Overton & Richard Snider can go pound sand on this issue! Martin is a hypocrite on the sign issue, and he really should resign as he's an embarrassment to the Town.
Sean M September 06, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Here is the letter I put together on political signs. Not one of the Democrat snipers have said a word on this. I wonder why? http://woodbury-middlebury.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-resident-shares-political-sign-update


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