Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 22 April 2011 00:00
In time for April showers and May flowers, Garden City merchants now have the opportunity to fully blossom this spring. The Chamber of Commerce has recently proposed implementing its pilot program to allow village merchants to display flowers and plants on their retail properties.
Trustee Dennis Donnelly offered a resolution on behalf of the chamber to the board of trustees at their April 14 board meeting to allow the pilot program to take place in time for the spring and summer. The resolution asks to “establish a pilot program which would permit displays of flowers and plants in front of retail establishments in the village. Displays must be on merchant’s property and sidewalks must remain unobstructed. The pilot program would commence immediately and run until November 30 at which time the board would reevaluate its success.”
During the discussion, Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh asked the board if the proper height and size restrictions of the displays should be included in the resolution. Superintendent of Buildings Michael Filippon clarified that it is important to consider the size, footprint, and height of the displays in order to ensure a safe environment. “I can tell you that whenever we adopt any kind of measure like that we establish parameters,” he said.
Subsequently, Cavanaugh suggested amending the proposal to include those parameters. “In order to get this into the springtime air, what I would propose is that we adopt the pending resolution and fully support its intent and ask the appropriate representative of the Chamber to consult forthwith with the Building Department to develop workable and reasonable standards,” Cavanaugh said.
Mayor Donald Brudie recommended that the board consider giving a conditional approval for two months and by that time the standard requirements are set, which was later approved by the board.
Filippon emphasized that whatever conditions are agreed to right now could be changed at a later date. “I don’t want to create a bureaucratic boondoggle,” Filippon said. “Borrowing from the past, let’s take when outdoor dining was first proposed. We referred that to our Architectural Design Review Board to come up with some sort of standard and that worked very well. Now that was a time consuming project,” Filippon said.
“In interest in getting it going this season, maybe the mayor’s suggestion is the way to go: approve this for a temporary period of time while the appropriate board can review it, come up with a set of standards and so that everyone understands that when those standards are established whatever they have already done may have to be undone,” Filippon added.
Chamber of Commerce Director Althea Robinson spoke at the meeting and thanked the trustees for their support of the pilot program.
“I wanted to thank the board for passing the pilot resolution proposed by Trustee Donnelly,” Robinson said, adding, “We consider Franklin Avenue the face of our village and Seventh Street is our community shopping area and I think this can do nothing but just give it a wonderfully aesthetic feel to the summer season and into the fall…I think it will be great and I will certainly check with Mr. Filippon to see what kind of parameters should be set.”