Bars, Liquor Stores Unite to Seek Looser Sign Laws in Elgin

Article excerpt

Byline: Brad Hahn Daily Herald Staff Writer

Bar and liquor store owners say they should be able to hang neon signs in a window or advertise their latest beer specials without interference from Elgin City Hall.

They united this spring to change the city's sign laws, which the business owners say are too strict and unevenly enforced.

Specifically, the owners tonight will ask the city council to loosen laws on neon signs, banners and flags for their operations.

But if and when such a policy is approved, it likely would apply to all businesses in the city - or at least certain districts.

"This would be applicable, conceivably, throughout the city," said Clay Pearson, director of the department of code administration and neighborhood affairs. "You can't carve out special regulations for liquor stores that auto dealerships or flower shops don't have."

The business owners became irked last year when the city inspected 29 liquor stores, citing many of the businesses for violations to sign ordinances. Owners were given time to fix any problems, and no fines were levied. …