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State Street Quilt Shop waiting for sign approval

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WATERTOWN — Rhonda Spencer just wanted to put up a freestanding sign in front of her quilt shop that she opened in February on State Street.

But a quirk in the city’s zoning law has prevented her from doing so.

There’s already a sign for the Allstate Insurance office, located in the back of her shop. The city’s zoning ordinance doesn’t allow for two freestanding signs on the same parcel.

What’s so unusual is that the Allstate office is located on a separate parcel from her shop and she can’t put a sign up on her own property.

Last week, Mrs. Spencer, who owns The Quilt Shop at 1625 State St. with her husband, Robert, went before the zoning board of appeals to get a use variance for her sign, but the board could not take action.

She has to wait a month, until the Oct. 19 ZBA meeting, so that the Jefferson County Planning Board can consider the sign.

The merchant told the zoning board that her customers cannot find her shop that sells quilts, fabric and supplies, citing the lack of a sign. Although she understands that the city’s hands are tied, she was upset that she has to wait another month to get one.

On Saturday, Mrs. Spencer didn’t want to comment about the situation, saying that she and her husband don’t want to shed any negative light on the city while she waits to get her approval.

“We just feel it’s in our best interest not to comment and see what happens on Oct. 19,” she said, adding that she’s telling her customers that they’re in the process of getting the sign.

The city planning department is trying to help her through the process.

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