Letter: ‘Buy Local’ theme is going strong!

Dear Editor,

The “Buy Local” theme is going strong now as we re-open businesses following COVID-19 shutdown. The smallest business model is the home operated small business, and we have some rather harsh signage rules in many of the towns and villages in Tioga County that obstruct these entrepreneurs from effectively advertising their wares.  

Now would be a great time to pressure local elected officials for reform of these antiquated standards. Size limitations should be increased. A 3 square foot rule is common, and that is an extremely small sign. We should be increasing the size limit to 6 to 10 square feet – still an order of magnitude smaller than a highway billboard. More importantly, sign placement should be allowed closer to streets so they are more visible.  

The rule in my town of Owego is especially crazy as it states that the sign should be 25’ from the street line, and the street line is 25’ from road center. This puts the sign INSIDE, to be technically in compliant.  

Elected officials have advised me to “do what I want,” as this rule really isn’t enforced. It’s not good governing practice to have bad rules and not enforce them. If a rule is bad, either fix it, or get rid of it entirely.

Would be a shame if small business people were following bad rules on the books out of concern for being fined, and losing business because of it.

We should do better. Fix these rules! Tioga County should strive to be small business friendly, now more than ever.


Rich Purtell

Apalachin, N.Y.

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