Ramapo 'hideous' billboards rile Airmont official

(Original Publication: October 19, 2005)

AIRMONT Multicolored signs posted by the town of Ramapo at two entrances to Camp Scuffy are annoying to some and barely noticeable to others.

Village Trustee Joseph Meyers is sufficiently upset by their presence in a residential neighborhood to draft a resolution requesting their removal.

"It's blatant self-promotion," Meyers said of the signs advertising Camp Scuffy's purchase by the Town Board as a preservation of open space. "We don't want billboards in residential areas. You don't preserve open space by putting a hideous billboard on the open space."

The signs, one along Cherry Lane and the other on Christmas Hill Road, display the names of Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and, in smaller print, names of the Town Board members.

St. Lawrence, who is running for re-election next month against Joseph Brennan, a Suffern village trustee, did not return two messages left at his Town Hall office yesterday and another left on his cell phone.

Councilman David Stein said the officials deserved a little bragging room.

"I'm proud that the town bought Camp Scuffy, as well as the Rustic Brook Swim and Tennis Club," said Stein, an Airmont resident, referring to a second purchase in the village.

The purchases prevented potential development, Stein said, and the facilities have become revenue producers.

"If the sign had the words 're-elect' or 'elect,' I'd be the first to remove them," said Stein, who is also running for re-election.

A resolution from Meyers, which is to be presented to the Airmont village board Oct. 27, calls the signs at Camp Scuffy and others at Rustic Brook and the Clark Recreation Center "unsightly billboards" that are counter to the "sentiment behind the preservation of open space."

Similar signs also have been posted at other properties bought by the town, including the Ramapo Equestrian Center on Route 202 and near the Torne Valley Community Center and Sports Complex, between Hillburn and Sloatsburg.

The signs are about 8 feet long and 4 feet wide.

Christmas Hill Road resident Steve Jackson said he had no objection to a sign at Camp Scuffy, but he was unaware of the second sign there.

"I've seen it there, but it's not a sore thumb," Jackson said.

Likewise Sigmund Frydman, who lives nearby, was nonplused. He wished, though, that the swimming pool was open to all residents, and not just campers.

Tom Nash, who lives across Cherry Lane from Camp Scuffy, said the signs could be more sedate.

"I have no problem with them displaying what a good thing they did because what they did was a good thing," Nash said. "But the sign could be toned down, made more environmentally friendly, so it doesn't look like a construction billboard."