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Beach Bum store sign issue back on agenda

The issue of Picton’s Beach Bum store sign returns to council’s committee of the whole agenda Thursday with an eye to approval of adding a border to reduce the visual mass of the sign that falls outside heritage permit rules.

The recommended modification, the council agenda states, has been rejected by the store’s owners.

A report from the Engineering, Development and Works Commission proposes the modification be approved instead of trimming the sign, as proposed by the owners to meet the policies of the Design Guidelines of the Heritage Conservation District Plan.

The orginial heritage permit and building permit was submitted after its installation and denied by committee of the whole, then deferred by council in April 2016. In August last year, council directed modifications to bring it into conformity. All new or renovated exterior signage in Picton’s heritage district must complement the proportions, size, design, colour and construction detail of the host building and be compatible with the heritage attributes of the district.

New recommended sign features a border.

After failing to comply the building department issued an order to comply on April 13, 2017. Store owners Cynthia Nichols and Darrell Windsor proposed to to modify the current sign by taking down the panels and cutting the ends to shorten the sign. That was not approved, resulting in the modification of the sign using a border to make it proportional and help to frame it on the building.

The owners, in a letter to council in June, had proposed the shortening of the sign to rectify it, and noted they continue to have issues with the heritage district approval process.

The business moved in December 2016 from the location next door where it has been since April 1990.

“We, in haste, put up a sign that was in contravention of the sign bylaw by a mere 2.4 per cent. It was an error on our part and one which we will be rectifying… Our building is not a significant heritage building worthy of designation.”

Their letter went on to state they believe the Heritage District approval process is “seriously flawed”, guidelines “arbitrary and subjective” and the application process is “inconsistent and meritless”.

Store owners propose to cut down the sign as indicated.

“The nature of our sign constitutes the entirety of our identity; expression of who and what we represent. We will not alter our image and expression of what our business represents. The shiny brightness of the yellow sun, blue of the water and graphics are a pure expression of our identity,” the owners wrote in June. “Should our application be rejected as is, be advised that we consider any attempt to change the impact of our commercial image, expression and communication of our business to the public, as a violation of Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We request that you process our application as is. Please be advised we are prepared to litigate this matter.”

The store in its former location, beside its new location shown in this Google Maps image.


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  1. Hildagard says:

    One law for the wealthy and one law for the ordinary hardworking entrepreneur! Why doesn’t the County officials attack the owner of the former Legion for his tasteless unheritage-like changes that he has made! I hope the County officials are keeping a close eye on the Royal Hotel as well! Leave the Beach Bum alone! Stop wasting taxpayers’ money on foolish vendettas when there are so many more important issues to deal with–ie housing crisis in the County if you need it spelled out!!!

  2. Cynthia Nicholls says:

    Firstly, thanks to all for your support. Paul, you made me laugh out loud with your “there’s a huge buttocks on your sign” and “a big arse” comment. Yep, we are the BEACH BUM….loud and proud. We did contravene the sign bylaw….unintentionally and have rectified that with the sign being cut down. However, it was not all about the sign bylaw but more of what PEHAC wanted to see the sign look like…. It now conforms with the bylaw but heritage still wants a raised border. Dictating, or trying to dictate, how I advertise and promote by business through signage (on my non-heritage building) is a violation of My Freedom of Commercial Expression laid out in our Canadian Charter of Rights. Just standing up for myself. Will be at the next council meeting sitting in the front row to see how the vote goes! Fingers crossed.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Let’s all look alike, let’s all paint our houses the same colour, lets all talk the same, let’s all dress the same… get the idea. Leave the businesses alone! It is hard enough to earn a living, let alone nit pick over a sign. As a matter of fact, before I moved to this area, the first store that caught my eye WAS the beachbum! The sign is colourful and attracks tourists! So hard to understand right? Perhaps the township should give a little and let the people in this town be a little more creative…after all..isn’t Picton and Prince Edward County known for it’s “creativity?” Get a grip and think about what matters! Really? a few inches and a yellow sign? Kind of pathetic, .. if that is what council is really up to …then we should some new innovative thinkers who are willing to “give or take a few inches”!!

  4. Paul Cole says:

    In all fairness the sign bylaw was in place and beach bum contravened that bylaw, council put an order in place for them to comply. So it is in fact beach bum failing to comply that is dragging this out…

  5. Emily says:

    There are a ton of affordable housing opportunities in funding available presently and Hastings just received 6 million. The County needs this so badly but our Council seems to use their taxpayer time attacking a longtime business owner over a sign that the majority of residents completely accept!

  6. Susan says:

    Would appear on the surface that big money entrepreneurs have free reign how they alter heritage buildings but a longtime business owner in a non heritage structure gets put through the ringer over a sign. Why would Council allow this issue to continue?

  7. Andre says:

    Wow all this over a signage issue…hate to agree with the person up above who put it nicely…”maybe council needs to focus on too many air B and B’s not paying their fare share of taxes. Or encouraging bigger hotel complexes to settle in the county; or affordable homes; and the list goes on…..why so much time on a sign?????

  8. Gary says:

    Who ever thought this great heritage initiative would attack a small business but turn a blind eye to the Ross McMullen house (former Legion) and permit a deck and glass rail from end to end which has absolutely no historic relevance and changes it’s character forever. Where is the logic and fairness. One hopes it is not about $$ .

  9. April says:

    All this over a sign well our own town is fighting to keep beautiful old town hall. Priorities is what our town council should be fighting for. Low house and apt rent for the people who live here and call it home.. just a couple of thoughts that need to be first in this small but loved town of ours…

  10. Marnie says:

    It’s their bottom line, Paul.

  11. Paul Cole says:

    I agree Marnie I just found some humor in the “our identity” comment and a picture of a big arse…

  12. Marnie says:

    It is, after all, the Beach BUM, Paul. There are scantily clad tourists wandering on Main Street and in the supermarkets that look a lot scarier.

  13. Paul Cole says:

    “The nature of our sign constitutes the entirety of our identity; expression of who and what we represent.”

    There’s a huge buttocks on your sign… Just sayin.

  14. Capt. Obvious says:

    I have to wonder if the same issue would be raised if the owners of Beach Bum were new business owners in The County? There seems to be a large discrepancy in the treatment of long time residents and business owners vs.’new’ people opening businesses. I do understand that promoting recent transplants help others envision themselves doing the same- it would be nice if the people that have been living here for decades also had a bit of recognition and… dare I say the same leeway and support.

  15. Marnie says:

    What a ridiculous waste of time. We have a beat-up piano at the entrance to our library and recently a pair of cannons mounted outside the Glenwood Cemetery’s historic chapel and some nitpickers complain about a few extra inches on a sign above a building that is in no way historic. Surely council can find something more worthy of its attention.

  16. Gary says:

    I hope the unelected Heritage Advisory Committee is applying their authority equally and fairly to all. The former Legion building as example. Yes it is refreshing and lovely. But the massive deck is not fitting with the building heritage nor is the off white paint colours. I like it don’t get me wrong but everyone needs to be treated fairly and consistently.

  17. Mark says:

    Utter nonsense. What is proposed for the larger than life Tiger just down the street.

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