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DOT forces businesses to remove signs

NORTH HUDSON Visitors will have to work a little harder to find the Adirondack Buffalo Company this summer. The bison farm, located on Blue Ridge Road in North Hudson, no longer has a sign near the Northway directing people to its business. The sign has been taken down by owner Steve Ossenkop at the direction of the state Department of Transportation. That sign has been there for 14 years and theres never been a problem, Ossenkop said. Business is bad to begin with, now people are going to have a tougher time finding us. The Adirondack Buffalo Company is located 3.7 miles west of the Northway, so a sign is crucial to directing people, Ossenkop said. A lot of people got off the Northway and saw the sign, he said. It was an important part of our business. Pete VanKeuren, spokesman for Capital Region DOT, said a letter was sent to Ossenkop demanding the sign be taken down before June 9. Ossenkop has done so. We are complying with DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation) regulations, VanKeuren said. There is DEC legislation that calls for no commercial signage on a highway in the Adirondack Park. The sign, Ossenkop agrees, was on state land. If it were on private property, the sign could have stayed. Its the state right of way, I dont dispute that, Ossenkop said of the signs location. I just think they could help us out a little. Other local business owners have also been asked to remove roadside signs on state land in the area, Ossenkop said. Weve contacted (state senator) Betty Little, Ossenkop said. This is a hardship for our business. I hope she can help. VanKeuren said there is no campaign to eliminate business signs, but when DOT crews discover them on state land action is taken. I know there are still some signs up there, but as we come across them we ask the business owners to take them down, he said. The Adirondack Buffalo Company, owned and operated by Ossenkop and his wife Dorreen, is home to a herd of about 40 American Bison, commonly known as buffalo. From May into October the farm is a tourist attraction. Visitors can see the buffalo and shop for bison products, fresh produce, baked goods and souvenirs.

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