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Hamburg church’s hope for digital bingo sign is facing snag

Attendance at Thursday night bingo at St. Cyril & Methody Macedonian Orthodox Church has dropped in half since a car ran into a sign in front of the church on Lake Avenue in Hamburg, and now the church wants to erect a digital sign.

“We had saved up for a couple years. We wanted to get a digital sign,” Nicholas M. Necovski, vice president of the church, told the Hamburg Town Board.

“Nothing flashy, nothing like Las Vegas, or something big, just something so these old pension guys don’t have to go out and change the numbers and the numbers don’t get blown off.”

He said it would have a nice base in keeping with the church, which he said has 1,000-plus members, with at least 800 living in Hamburg.

The church applied months earlier, but the town’s moratorium on digital signs was in place while the town wrote a new sign ordinance.

However, the church may be out of luck: The proposed ordinance has been drafted, and it would prohibit any new digital signs.

“This is a draft, this is not by any means a final consideration,” said Kurt C. Allen, the town’s supervising code-enforcement officer.

Allen said the town is considering allowing digital signs for institutional, public schools, churches, firehalls or banner message boards. “There seems to be some tolerance for that because we don’t have the same issues with that type of application as we do with the digital signs that are used for businesses and off-premise advertising,” Allen said.

Existing digital signs would be allowed to stay, but the new ordinance would require their displays to be stationary and would prohibit scrolling, full animation, flashing or video displays.

Banners and balloon billboard signs would be prohibited, as well as signs on vehicles parked on the public right of way or on private property whose basic purpose is advertising.

“Our biggest thing is our bingo. It’s been down quite a bit in the last year,” Necovski said. “We have a big expense over there. We can only do so much with donations, and our bingo keeps it close.”