PZC’s chairman points to sign no-nos
SALISBURY — Several businesses in town were cited for zoning violations after Planning and Zoning (PZC) Chairman Michael Klemens and Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO) Nancy Brusie investigated a lengthy list of complaints from Mary O’Brien, owner of the Chaiwalla restaurant in Salisbury.According to the ZEO’s report of Jan. 17 regarding The Bistro on Academy Street, “the complainant stated that the restaurant use was illegal, there were too many tables for the size of the restaurant, that there was insufficient parking to accommodate the patio seating, the signs and flags were illegal, and that The Bistro was engaging in unfair trade practices by preparing Ms. O’Brien’s signature tomato pie entree.”Klemens and Brusie determined that The Bistro is allowed to operate at the location but needed to reduce the patio seating from 31 to 28 seats. They asked that the flag bearing the word “restaurant” be removed, as it constituted a third sign (the establishment is allowed two signs) and two other flags (in addition to the “restaurant” flag) should be removed (one flag is allowed).“Balloons and decorative lights are not regulated,” the report continues, “nor does the PZC have any authority to mediate disputes concerning alleged unfair business practices in regard to menu items.”Klemens and Brusie found that the shop Passports did indeed have too many signs (three in front and one in the rear). Two will have to be removed.And The Roost coffee shop ran afoul of the regulations with “a large banner attached to the deck, which is not permitted and serves as a sign.” And one of the three distinctive pink flamingo signs also has to go.O’Brien claimed that the Best and Cavallaro real estate office constituted multiple businesses operating under a single roof and had inadequate parking. Klemens and Brusie found that “although there are multiple independently licensed agents operating in this office, they do so as part of a single commercial entity.” The parking was in compliance.At Lucky Nails, the complaint was about moving neon signs in the window. The report states, “We noted two internally lit signs in the window, one ‘Open’ and one ‘Nails.’ Both these signs had a circle of small flashing blue lights around the edges.”The owner disconnected part of one sign and turned off the other.O’Brien complained that the Encore clothing shop had a clothing rack and other merchandise placed on town property that created a “cluttered flea market look.” Klemens and Brusie found Encore to be in compliance as far as signs, and noted that a vendor’s permit must be issued by Town Hall for use of town property in the manner described, and that no permit had been issued to Encore.Similarly, the town clerk had no record of issuing a vendor’s permit (for a clothing rack) to Peter Becks Village Store. O’Brien’s last complaint concerned the Ragamont, which she said is operating as a bed and breakfast.Klemens and Brusie said, “We could not substantiate or refute these allegations. There was no data provided by the complainant that we could independently verify that would lead to this conclusion.”The report concludes that Lakeville and Salisbury both have problems with inadequate parking and suggests that the commission revisit parking and sign regulations “in order to create a more business-friendly atmosphere while maintaining the beauty of our village centers.”Notices of violations were sent by the ZEO to the affected businesses.