- A number of neighborhood small business owners are complaining that the city is overzealously policing sign permits, saying they’ve had to pay thousands of dollars in fines for words painted on their shop windows.
“It just seems unfair to make you get a permit for every window panel,” said Scott Toth, owner of Craft Pizza at 1252 N. Damen Ave.
Toth, who has been ticketed four times, hired a lawyer and appeared in court twice about the matter. He said he decided to remove the signs in all four windows and pay a $1,000 fine that had been reduced with the help of his attorney.
- A long-standing city law enforced by the Department of Buildings states that permits are required for non-illuminated painted or vinyl advertising signs or lettering that take up more than 25 percent of any single window.
The cost for each on-premise window sign is $200 per sign, plus a Department of Buildings zoning review fee that can vary from $50 to $1000 depending on the size of the sign.
- The city requires that a professional contractor apply the lettering or images. Violators face fines of $350 to $15,000 per day until the signs are removed