Doreen Ossenkops speaks to the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
Doreen Ossenkops of North Hudson believes that businesses in the Adirondack Park are being discriminated against.
That is what she told members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors when she addressed them Aug. 5 to voice concern about being told to remove signage for her business, the Adirondack Buffalo Company, from near the exit ramp off Exit 29 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87).
Ossenkops told the board that she had previously taken the signs down under a previous state Department of Transportation order but put them back up after her state representative told her it was okay.
“(Sen.) Betty Little told us that a law had been passed and because we were a local farm, that we were able to put the signs back up,” Ossenkops said. “Then we received notification to take down our signs or we would be fined $100,000 per day and we would be charged with the removal and disposal of them.”
Ossenkops said the signage has made a big difference for her business.
“Since the signs went back up, our business has gone up dramatically,” she said. “I feel business people in the Adirondack Park are being discriminated against. No other part of the state has to deal with this. It is not only a hardship for us but for all of the businesses in the Adirondacks that cannot have signs up to let people know how to get there.”
Ossenkops said the state gave her an extension until Labor Day to remove the signs, but in her mind, more needs to be done.
“We did get an extension, which will help us with the summer month but will not help us in the fall, which is normally a busy time for us,” she said. “I want to put in my two cents for the businesses not only in Essex County but throughout the Adirondack Park that we feel we are being discriminated against.”
The county board agreed with Ossenkops, passing a resolution, “urging New York State to amend transportation law to allow signage on exit and entrance ramps on the Adirondack Northway within the Adirondack Park.”
“Sen. Little and (North Hudson Supervisor) Mr. (Ronald) Moore were in Albany recently advocating on your behalf and (Minerva Supervisor) Mrs. Montgomery-Corey and I jumped in on that to support you,” County Chairman Randy Douglas of Jay said. “We will advocate on your behalf.”
Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley said the resolution was about more than just providing added advertisement for local businesses.
“I live on Route 9 near Route 73 in New Russia and people stop in the middle of the night at my house to ask where to find gas or for directions because there are no signs, so it can become a public safety issue as well,” Bartley said.