Last week, Silver Spring merchant Tom Harris, owner of the Great Frame Up, received a $164 citation for .. drum roll .. trying to do business.
His crime? He put out a 3 foot tall "sandwich" board on the sidewalk in front of his shop.
Whitefish Bay’s building inspector saw it, and warned Harris that the sign was in violation of Whitefish Bay zoning code. Harris then moved the sign from the sidewalk to private property.
Later, an inspector came back, saw the sign was now on private property, suggested Harris was “screwing with him” and wrote out a $164 citation.
Sure enough, section 16.18F, #6 prohibits the following signs: Advertising vehicles, changeable message signs, electronic signs, flashing signs, portable signs, off-premises signs, roof signs, swinging signs, and, you guessed it, SANDWICH SIGNS!
Jesus, Tom, the law is the law. Who do you think you are?
The Great Frame Up has been a solid business along Silver Spring for 15 years, and they've donated generously to Whitefish Bay's civic events and programs over the years to the tune of over 6-figures. A couple times a year, for 4-5 days, they want to put out a sign to market themselves to passers-by. Their reward? A $164 ticket.
We're not talking some crappy easel, paper, and crayon sign. This is a professionally made quality sign. It's not gaudy, it's not impeding traffic, and it's pretty small. (See picture).
Uh-oh, Patricia’s. Uh-oh, Sendik's. I’m sure these scoff-laws also got $164 tickets, too. (See pictures below.) Or did the building inspector single out The Great Frame Up?
NOTE TO VILLAGE TRUSTEES: THIS IS THE KIND OF CRAP THAT MAKES IT TOUGHER FOR MERCHANTS TO STAY IN BUSINESS. The Trustees need to go through the ENTIRE CODE, and declare a moratorium on every merchant-unfriendly ordinance. Two more businesses closed this month, there are rumors another two are going belly up within weeks.
The Silver Spring merchants need the green light to do everything they can to eek out a living and stay afloat. I don't care if they want to have daily elephant rides and fireworks. We're close to, or in a recession, unemployment is up, inflation is up, Silver Spring's physical condition is abysmal, and theoretically, the Village is going to dig up the street going into the holiday season, suppressing business.
We are at DEFCON 1. Call up the Whitefish Bay Professional Association, ask them how you can help, and make it all happen at the very next board meeting.
Lastly .. if the Village wants to give out tickets .. how about giving citations for the hideous collection of weeds growing at the Talbots property? Aren't landlords responsible for their property? It looks like abandoned lot, and makes Silver Spring look even worse.
Picture courtesy of Gordy Lang:
Stay informed .. make sure you read the 22nd Assembly District Forum Recap, the Race for Wasserman's open seat.
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