When you’re paid by taxpayers, be nice to those taxpayers.
Last month, Pete Smith, the owner of Uptown Cleaners, put one of those flappy sail signs in front of his business, hoping to draw customers from the now-closed Tri City Cleaners & Laundry next door. He wasn’t in when a code enforcement officer from the city stopped by to say it needed to come down or that fines would be forthcoming.
Smith thought that was odd. A similar sign was on display outside Sweet Treats a few blocks away on the Square. So he started making calls, simply seeking an answer.
He called the city’s planning department, which referred to the Main Street program, which sent him to the Chamber of Commerce. In the end, the closest thing Smith said he got to an answer was “because.”
“That’s something your parents told you when you were a kid,” Smith said. “I don’t have anything against (others with such signs), I just want to see it applied across the board.”
Turns out, it is. City Planning Director Randy Vinson said Wednesday that such signs are not allowed in the city’s TCM2 zoning district, or Town Center Mixed. Such signs are allowed along U.S. 278, the bypass and at the end of Pace Street. Vinson called back within 10 minutes of a query from The Covington News.
Sweet Treats' sign was in violation of the town’s zoning. Vinson said a code enforcement officer would head there Wednesday to get it removed. It was still up Friday morning.
So it looks like everything’s OK, or at least on its way.
But Smith should not have been forced to call the newspaper and ask why he couldn’t have his sign. We have no doubt it was unintentional, but he should not have been given the runaround.
The solution is simple: Code enforcement officers should explain why zoning violators need to make things right. Just a simple “The sign violated the zoning in TCM2” would have been plenty.
We’re not being intentionally harsh here. We suspect no wrongdoing whatsoever. But a little more manners would be appreciated.