Home » Opinion » Editorials
Killing creativity: An illegal 'sign' in North Hampton
The Beach Plum restaurant sits across the street from North Hampton State Beach. It is a valuable community and state asset - so valuable, in fact, that the State Parks website advertises the restaurant as an amenity available at the state beach. The Board of Adjustment for the Village District of Little Boars Head, in whose jurisdiction the Beach Plum sits, feels differently, however.
The board worries that the Beach Plum's decor might lower property values. To prevent that, the board ruled that the restaurant's two statues of red lobsters holding a huge ice cream cone in each claw are signs. Lo and behold, if they are signs, the board can regulate them. How convenient.
The North Hampton Planning Board had already determined that the lobsters were not signs. "We determined that they were, in fact, not signs at all but works of art," Shep Kroner, Planning Board chairman, told this newspaper. But the village board of adjustment has different artistic judgment. It has ordered the lobsters removed, and so the award-winning restaurant has wound up in court to save its creative crustaceans.
Sign ordinances, no matter how tightly written, usually result in subjective judgments by boards tasked with enforcing the rules. The trick for these boards is to avoid using sign ordinances to stifle creativity by arbitrarily imposing the subjective tastes of a few upon everyone else. Alas, such arbitrary imposition is exactly what the Little Boars Head Board of Adjustment appears to be doing.
READER COMMENTS: 8
- Bad Joe: Levasseur stalls again - 2
- Good Joe: Kenney for Executive Council - 1
- Insurance exchange: NH Dems, GOP switch sides - 2
- Bottle store blues: The useless grocery mandate - 2
- Finding city revenue: Seek more private partners - 0
- Putin's freedom: Obama's weakness - 42
- Safe seats, frequent flyers - 0
- Sports volunteers: Eric Mommsen embodies the spirit - 0
- Issa drops in: Doesn't match media slant - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Merrimack survives scare - 0
- NHIAA Tournament Roundup: Central breaks away from Exeter - 0
- College Hockey: Dartmouth drops tournament opener - 0
- FEMA OKs $8m for repairs in Lincoln, Lebanon - 0
- Official says Manchester lost out on $1.5m for cell tower court has now ordered built - 5
- John Habib's City Sports: Derryfield's 'Mouse' made his mark - 1
- Rondo leads Celtics past Nets - 0
- Hats off to O'Neill, Monarchs - 0
- NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Maughn, Memorial top Londonderry - 0
Obamacare's new trick: Only temporary relief