The efforts of Lockport’s City Fathers to pass a sign ordinance regulating what businesses can and can’t have for a sign reminds me of the Malvina Reynolds song Little Boxes:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.


While the song was about suburban architechture on the surface, the conformity this ordinance is attempting to impose fits just as well.

Why do we need to pass a law, an ordinance, another piece of red tape every time someone doesn’t like something? What ever happened to letting the marketplace regulate itself?

To paraphrase the motto of a local sign company, A business with a crappy-looking sign, is a sign of a crappy business. What serious businessman is going to put up a sign that looks bad? It’s in his own best interest to look good, especially the first thing someone sees when they see his business.

But this attempt at making everything fit the vision of the Mayor, or Mr. Ulrich’s scheme for Main Street, is excessive. The historic term has been dropped because of it’s un-enforceability, but the mindset continues. Who wants top see a historic sign on a shop that sells urban wear? Is it called Ye Olde Hip-Hop Shoppe?

A laundromat that has been a blight on a neighborhood for years has also been one of the businesses held up by the moratorium. New owners came in, fixed the place up, made it look nice and safe again and want to replace an old sign. Their reward from the city? A big NO!

As usual, the best solution, letting people alone and not cluttering our lives with more laws, and letting businessmen run their own business, escapes our politicos. Unless a sign endangers someone’s safety (which is already covered by building codes) why do we have to regulate it? Plaza owners already do a good job of making their tenants signs fit a theme for their buildings. It’s the first thing they do when they remodel a strip mall. Let our struggling business owners alone and quit driving them away with more red tape.