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Greenfield reviews sandwich board policy

GREENFIELD — One man’s clutter is another man’s art when it comes to sandwich boards.

The town’s Board of License Commissioners is once again looking at sandwich boards along downtown streets and how it might get everyone who puts one on a town sidewalk “on the same page” in terms of construction, aesthetics and placement.

According to Scott Conti, the board’s chairman, commissioners are not trying to ban sandwich boards.

“We’d like them to have a common look and feel,” said Conti. “We’d also like all of them placed where they are supposed to be.”

He said there are currently no rules about “uniformity” in terms of how a sandwich board looks, but the licensing board would like to see a “common” look to all of them.

Conti said there are no formal discussions going on about that at this point, but the licensing board would like to see discussions about how boards will be constructed in the future.

He said aesthetics would be a part of those discussions, although the licensing board wouldn’t expect every sandwich board to look the same. He said he would hope that Greenfield could come to an agreement about some of the common characteristics people would like to see.

Conti said some people have complained about boards encroaching on foot traffic along downtown streets, while others have sung their praises. He said some boards are more pleasant to look at than others, also.

“Our major concern, right now, is to keep the sidewalks neat, clean and safe for the town,” said Conti. “We don’t want to turn this issue into any more than that.”

Conti said the licensing board is working with Greenfield Business Association, hoping it will work with its members to resolve any issues.

“We’re having some good discussions,” he said. “As with anything, some businesses comply and some don’t. According to the rules, sandwich boards have to allow 6 feet of walking space on a sidewalk and have to be within the boundaries of the property they are advertising.”

Currently, any business wishing to put a sandwich board on a Greenfield sidewalk must be issued a permit by the commission.

Conti said the cost is $10 per year and the business must have proof of a comprehensive liability insurance policy. The business must also provide the commission with a site plan, to scale, indicating where the sandwich board will be located and what its dimensions will be.

“Sandwich boards can be a really nice way for a second-floor business to draw attention,” said Conti. “We just don’t want any of them to pose a threat to the walking public.”

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