Deflecting Blame - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2231568

Deflecting Blame

Having read Tisha Collette’s initial letter regarding sign code enforcement for her business in the village [“Double Standard,” Letters, January 25], I found myself amused by the gross inaccuracies presented. However, the subsequent correspondence [“Proactive Solution,” Letters, February 8] left me utterly perplexed.

Collette’s current stance seems to shift blame onto the village code or the mayor. Yet conspicuously absent from her arguments is the fundamental issue: Colette Home agreed to something that it simply didn’t do, with an “I want what I want” attitude.

Having served on the Architectural Review Board from 2020 to 2023, including time on the signage committee, I was intimately involved in the approval process for this property.

The saga began when the applicant unilaterally placed temporary signage without obtaining the necessary permit from the Building Department. The ARB rightfully questioned this action.

On May 18, 2023, Colette Home submitted an application for two signs, one over the front door and the other over the side door, both in gold lettering. Notably, the original application made no mention of awning signage. The ARB signage committee deemed the scale and color of both signs unsuitable for this historically significant building at a pivotal intersection in the village.

Numerous exchanges with the applicant followed, during which statements like “I have always operated my stores with shiny Madison Avenue-like gold letters” were made. However, a brief examination of the applicant’s website, featuring branding with black lettering on a white background, and visuals of their other locations sporting pewter (Bridgehampton), white (Madison Avenue) and silver (Southampton) signage, contradicted these claims.

On June 2, 2023, the Building Department received an updated rendering depicting black letters of appropriate scale. On July 7, 2023, another request was submitted for simple black fabric awnings with white lettering and no logos. Both the black signage and white lettering on black awnings were approved by the ARB and are documented in Building Department records.

However, the applicant proceeded to install signage that mirrored their initially denied request. Despite conversations with code enforcement officers warning of noncompliance with village code, their actions remained unchanged, leading to citations being issued.

What truly bewilders me is the unwarranted attack on the mayor. It was the ARB’s request that prompted the code enforcement department’s intervention. Upholding code adherence, including honoring agreed-upon renderings, benefits us all. The majority of businesses adhere to code regulations and approved plans.

Ours is a village cherished for its beauty and historical significance. A level of oversight in visual aesthetics is not only valued but applauded. Should there be disagreements with the process, avenues for discussion and reform are available.

From my perspective, this applicant disregarded the necessity of adhering to code and honoring their commitments to the village, only to deflect blame onto others.

John Gregory