Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just Who Is The Sign Sheriff?

Just a thought about the new sign bylaw here in town. Seems that most businesses are forced to use those bland white sandwich board signs outside of their shops to give some uniformity to the signage in town. In the beginning there was also a time limit as to how long one could have the sign board outside for. I think that the time limit has been changed since the bylaw was initiated.

So, has anyone ever explained the sign bylaw to some of the folks at the retail shops at the Sturbridge Marketplace at the Falls? And, who's job is it to enforce the bylaws we enact here in town? Just seems very unfair to all the businesses here in town abiding by the bylaw and having to use those ugly signs, and there are those that don't.

There's got to be a logical reason, I mean, here in Sturbridge something as blatant as disregard for the sign bylaw is serious stuff, and now all those "rebel signs" along Route 20 just standing there, on there own, without a sandwich board!!

Scary stuff. I hope it is not a sign of more outrageous stunts to come here in town over the summer.

I guess we have said all we can on this subject. LOL. Comments are now closed. Thank you.--ed.


  1. All those "rebel signs" look trashy. The sign sheriff needs to do his job.

  2. But, who is the sign sheriff? The building inspector? The police chief? The tree warden?

  3. The Building Inspector...... now that we have a new one he needs to do his job.

  4. It's the building inspector; but like the last building inspector who was intimidated and publicly embarrassed by two selectmen, the new building inspector probably won't do anything about the trashy signs.

  5. If anyone wants to have the "trashy signs" cleaned up, rather than complain here, call the Town Administrator and complain, then call the Selectmen and complain, if they hear enough they'll do something about it.
    If nothing is done it will only get worse. I remember when there would be only a couple of "open flags" the entire length of 20 and 31 but when nothing was done, more and more went out, the same will be true with the "sandwich boards". And hey, if a selectman can ignore the zoning bylaws ... well what's good for the goose.........

  6. Has anyone noticed Sturbridge Pottery has 5 signs on Route 20, and another at the beginning of New Boston Road? There's a blue tourist sign; the Adopt a Site sign which has 3 Sturbridge Pottery signs on it; and the sandwich board. Then on New Boston is their really fancy sign.

    How much is enough? Geez.

  7. I got no problem with themWednesday, May 19, 2010

    About the Sturbridge Pottery signs, it is called marketing, and it is done tastefully, legally, and their financial support, and work for the Adopt-a-Site not only makes our town more beautiful, but is paying back, instead of taking away as so many do.

    Can't see a thing wrong with it, or them. More power to them. and I hope others take notice, and follow their lead.

  8. Your amateur knowledge of marketing is showing. That many signs is overkill.

    Heck, one sign says Sturbridge Pottery on it twice on one side. The adopt-a-site is a beautiful thing and a great way to pay back to the community; no one said it wasn't. I'm talking about the 6 signs all around it that are within 10-40' of each other - it is saturation to the point of ridonkulous. They figured out a way to bypass the sign bylaws.

  9. i got no problem with them, tooThursday, May 20, 2010

    Overkill or not, it doesn't come off as overkill, and it works. The signs got your attention. They haven't bypassed any laws, in fact, they have followed them as written exactly. Just so happens what they do, and how they do it is not only smart, it's legal. I bet they don't give the signs any thought other than putting them out as allowed by law, and the other ones for the adopt a site, are a bonus. I don't think they are the kind of people to be devious in their signage as you imply. It is all above board.

  10. don't concentrate on those people doing things right, concentrate on the ones that are not doing things according to the bylaws!!!!!!

  11. You may not think it's overkill but the average person would say it is; come on, six signs for the same business within only feet of each other. Where else does that happen?

    Yeah, they caught my attention because that corner of Rte 20 and New Boston now looks like a sign company is having a sale. It's not fair to other business owners either; that's why there are bylaws, in part, so everyone is treated the same.

    Your statement that it's all legal - no, the temporary sign is not legal. They may have a permit for it but temporary signs are only allowed to be within the boundary of the lot to which the sign applies. So it should be at their site on New Boston Rd. Also, the temporary sign is sitting on state/town owned property. That is also a violation.

    What you call "smart" and "legal" is actually overkill, it's not fair to others, and the temporary sign is violating the bylaw.

    However, I can see how all their signs came to be in one spot; it may not have been "devious" at the time. But I bet the owners chuckled at how stupid the town was for allowing so many signs to saturate one area - you know, one hand of government not knowing what the other hand was doing?

  12. PS: the sign bylaw also says you can only have 4 signs. So, by sticking 3 on one post, that diverts the law. And remember, these signs are not on store property - they're on state or town property.

  13. i have been reading the back and forth about Sturbridge Pottery. I think the person complaining about all those signs must own a pottery here in town, and is trying to kill the competition or something. I drove by there today, and I saw signs. I saw an adopt a site sign. I actually saw two, for two adopted sites. I also saw an attraction sign. what is the big deal? Those signs are legal, and serve a purpose. If the town sign has to be on the land of the business owner, then why is it allowed on route 20?? Because it is not a big deal, and since the business is away from the main streets it only directs people to their store. take the energy you are using to stop the signs that are OK, and call the building inspector to clamp down on the ones at the Mill Stores.

  14. the sign bylaw has been gradually ignored more and more since it was enacted. the selectman ignored it art his busniess. businesses ignored it. people wanted something done, but what they got was a way too restrictive , and people knew it, so they have chosen to ignore it unless it is stuck in their face.

    needs to be rewritten.

  15. Oh, I see what the prior poster is saying: it's okay to allow some people to have too many signs or illegal signs but not okay for others, especially if they are near where you live, or if you have to see them everyday.

    Or it's okay if they have 6 signs as long as they adopt a site and make the corner look pretty. They do a great job with the plantings and the site - why wouldn't they? Their name is all over it.

    To my knowledge, there is only one pottery place in town besides what is sold at the Village. Sturbridge Pottery is a great place and an asset to the town; but it's not my problem that they are on a side street off a main drag. It is my problem, however, when one corner is so saturated with signs that it looks ridiculous - legal or not.

    Regardless of what you saw, there are 6 signs (not sign posts) in close proximity of each other. The adopt-a-site signpost has a Sturbridge Pottery sign attached to the signpost sign, and it say Sturbridge Pottery twice on it, for a total of 3 times. Follow me?

    I think we should have more sign posts, more signs, more sandwich boards, and let's not forget neon signs, too, and let's plant them around the corner from the joker who thinks signs are okay, as long as they aren't near him.

  16. Someones neighborhood is presumably being overrun with signs and that someone is mad. The Sturbridge Pottery signs are 100 times better than the trash signs elsewhere in town. They are all legal signs, and if you don't think they are, who do you complain to? As the article asked, "who is the sign sheriff?"
    signs are ok in my neighborhood, as long as they are legal ones.

  17. Actually, it's not my neighborhood but I do pass by each day. If you look back in the comments, I simply asked the question if anyone noticed there were 6 signs for one business on a corner. I asked the question: how much is enough? Someone else got defensive and made untrue blanket statements about legality which is annoying no matter the subject.

    Truth is, it doesn't look bad at all and they keep it up well. But that doesn't change the fact that there are 6 signs with one business name saturating that area.

  18. Statements regarding legality are correct. You are correct,too, it looks fine, and well cared for. So there are "six" signs in a short space, each is a separate entity with different rules. Not much can be done if it is not pleasing to the eye for some, or if others feel they are getting away with some impropriety.

  19. to anonymous about the law says you can only have 4 signs...Well, each of those signs are different. Adopt a site, attraction, and Town of Sturbridge. The law says nothing about four different signs from four different agencies. It looks good. Looks fine. This is not a problem. This is a non issue. Pleas concentrate on the trash signs in town.