Pizzeria owners appeal order to remove sign

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 A sign for Giuseppe's Italian Pizzeria in Naugatuck, which ignited a controversy and a review of sign regulations in the borough, was supposed to be taken down by the end of next month but the pizzeria owners have filed an appeal. –RA ARCHIVE

A sign for Giuseppe’s Italian Pizzeria in Naugatuck, which ignited a controversy and a review of sign regulations in the borough, was supposed to be taken down by the end of next month but the pizzeria owners have filed an appeal. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The fight over the Giuseppe’s Italian Pizzeria sign on the downtown island in front of the Tuttle House lives on.

Pizzeria owners Scott Dudas and Matt Smith have filed an appeal challenging an April 24 order to remove the sign within 60 days. A hearing scheduled for Tuesday before the Zoning Board of Appeals was postponed because Dudas was on vacation. Dudas and Smith sent the board a letter late last week asking for an extension, which the board granted.

Longtime customer Bob Lyons, 47, of Horton Hill Road, attended Tuesday’s meeting to speak in favor of the pizzeria.

“They took a real eyesore and really transformed it into something beautiful,” Lyons said.

The application alleges Zoning Enforcement Officer Steve Macary’s order was issued in error, but does not elaborate on the specific hardship that removing the sign would cause. Smith declined to comment last week on behalf of the business.

The 2- by 4-foot, free-standing sign violates a regulation that states signs can only advertise businesses on their own lots, according to Macary. Giuseppe’s is located at 1183 New Haven Road.

Exceptions are made in a certain business district, but not the district where the sign is located, Macary said. The sign was also constructed without the required certificate of zoning compliance.

Linda Ramos, chairwoman of the Beautification Committee, and business owners complained about the sign after it first appeared in late 2011, claiming Giuseppe’s was being allowed to advertise in ways others could not. The ensuing spat has prodded the Zoning Commission to overhaul the borough’s sign regulations, a process that is not yet finished.

The commission decided to have the sign removed after receiving an opinion from attorney Warren Hess III, who wrote that it does not conform to zoning regulations.

Officials have been making exceptions for the 18- by 24-inch signs installed by businesses that participate in the Adopt-A-Spot program. Those signs contain the Beautification logo and the business’ name. Hess encouraged the commission to include language pertaining to Adopt-A-Spot signs in the new regulations.

Burgess Robert Neth, owner of Connecticut Signcraft, made the Giuseppe’s sign for $400. It was installed when borough resident Jim Miele landscaped the grassy island with financial help from the pizzeria.