Macabre sign sparks outcry in Rosendale

Above: A striking depiction of the Grim Reaper graces the front of an empty trailer on state Route 32 in Rosendale. Photo by Andrew Wyrich.

The future of a unique roadside sign in Rosendale could be getting a bit grimmer.

Rosendale Town Supervisor Jeanne Walsh told the Daily Freeman that the town will be reviewing concerns that a trailer that has sat on state Route 32 for six years violates town sign laws. The trailer boasts a painted image of the Grim Reaper, and the message “Fraud kills: Don’t be the next victim, Chicago Title Insurance Co.”

Local resident Michael Caponero told the Rosendale town board that the trailer and its distinct signage has hurt his efforts to sell his property on the opposite side of the street, the Freeman reports:

“I’ve been lied to for the last two years as far as the code enforcement officer telling me that there was nothing the town could do; it was perfectly legal to have that monstrosity of a sign out on Route 32,” Caponero said. “I took him at face value, because why would he lie to me?”

Is the trailer a sign, and would the town be violating its owner's First Amendment rights by bringing action against it? Commenters on the Freeman story disagreed. Reader Derek Bailing asks:

How is this any different than if McColgan was a trucker and had his trailer, emblazoned with the company logo, parked on his property?

"G. Christopher" disagrees:

It ISN'T FREE SPEECH IF IT VIOLATES YOUR NEIGHBOR'S RIGHTS. And all the town has to do is vote to amend the codes!