Lucharitos’ new sign approved by Greenport ZBA, yet owner disappointed

04/17/2014 9:23 AM |
Lucharitos illuminated sign has cause controversy. (Marc LaMaina credit photo)

Lucharitos illuminated sign has cause controversy. (Marc LaMaina credit photo)

After months of back and forth, popular Mexican restaurant Lucharitos Taqueria & Tequila Bar in Greenport will get to keep its illuminated sign.

But owner Marc LaMaina still is in no mood to celebrate.

On Wednesday the village Zoning Board of Appeals gave unanimous final approval to allow a backlit sign to remain in the front window of the tapas bar, located on the southern side of Main Street.

Greenport ZBA members vote in favor of installing a self-illuminating sign at Lucharito's in Greenport on Wednesday evening.(Cyndi Murray photo)

ZBA members approve the sign.(Cyndi Murray photo)

But to the disappointment of Mr. LaMaina, the approval will not include the go-ahead for flashing lights he originally hoped.

Back in January, Mr. LaMaina proposed placing a self-lit, flashing sign advertising the eatery’s “famous margaritas.” He purchased and installed it shortly after the beginning of the year.

But Greenport’s code states self-illuminating signs require a variance.

Mr. LaMaina’s proposal to the ZBA faced challenges immediately after it was presented in January. Unclear if a flashing sign was an appropriate addition to Greenport’s historic district, ZBA members consulted with the village’s Historic Preservation Commission for guidance.

The commission’s debate last month on whether a flashing sign was fitting for Main Street was a “personal attack” in Mr. LaMaina’s eyes, after member Roselle Borrelli indicated the Mexican restaurant’s sign could draw Hispanic-related gang activity to the village.

Ultimately, all commission members — including Ms. Borrelli— passed on a recommendation in support of the sign to the ZBA, as long as is its bulbs did not flash.

On Wednesday, ZBA members agreed with the the commission’s decision, voting 4-0 to allow a non-flashing neon sign in the window.

Mr. LaMaina had been keeping the sign dark until a decision was made. Following Wednesday night’s vote, Mr. LaMaina, who was not at the meeting, voiced his disapproval of the member’s decision to do away with the flashing lights, but declined to comment directly.

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