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Trustees debate business lighting

East Aurora, already known for being fussy when it comes to development plans, now seems bent on taking a closer look at what type of lighting it wants on the outside of businesses.

In what seemed like a routine update recently of the latest revisions to facade improvements planned for West-Herr's Buick GMC Cadillac dealership at 535 Main St., the Village Board found itself in a bigger debate over what kind of lighting it wants to permit on the exterior of stores.

Right now, village code does not require backlit signs, which are signs that have lights behind them. West-Herr had been planning lighting within some lettering on its building and Roycroft-like sconces.

West-Herr vice president and partner John Wabick was telling village officials that the latest improvement plan, which calls for extensive work, had been blessed by General Motors, with the architect talking of flower planters and softer lighting incorporated into the design. Then village officials began questioning its exterior lighting.

Before long, village officials were discussing the lighting of business signs throughout the village. Trustee Peter Mercurio told West-Herr that a zoning variance would be needed to allow for backlit or internally lit signs. The code does not permit backlit signs along Main Street in the interest of protecting the street's character.

"I'm all for tightening it up," Mercurio said of lighting.

From there, Trustee Ernest Scheer said the village should think about revisiting the backlit-sign issue with the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Village Administrator Bryan Gazda noted that many zoning board members want backlit signs eliminated.

Complicating matters is that the village's long-awaited design guidelines, which were being retooled by Pittsford Mayor Robert Corby, are now delayed and, instead, are being crafted by a Village Planning Commission member who has expertise in that area.