blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

handcuffs for superbarista?

Please join me tomorrow morning at 9 AM in the Cleveland Heights city court where I will be pleading my case. Unfortunately, the issue will not be naked espresso. The issue will be sign that I now have illegally hanging in front of my store that says "NOW OPEN EVENINGS". It's illegal because it's a banner.

Here's how the ordinance reads:
"Pennants, banners, streamers, whirligig devices, bare strings of light bulbs, balloons and other similar devices are prohibited except for banners and pennants when part of public information signs installed by the City pursuant to Section 1163.02(b)"

I have asked the city (through Ed Kelley, the mayor) to allow me to hang the sign temporarily so I can communicate to the community that we are now open in the evenings, but instead, all I got was a court summons.

My case tomorrow will be based on the following:
Phoenix Coffee should be allowed to leave our banner up for another month
  1. Because by Phoenix Coffee being open in the evenings, we are providing a service to the community. We are providing a non-alcoholic, safe environment for Cleveland Heights citizens to enjoy good coffee, pastry and food.
  2. Because we have no other cost-effective way to convey the new hours to members of the general public. Advertising is not targeted enough. I can't display the banner inside my windows because each pane is only 18" wide and I have an awning above my window that further obscures anything in the window.
  3. Because there is only a gas station across the street.
  4. Because I only want to leave the sign up through the end of July, then I would be willing to remove it.
  5. Because it is a professionally made sign. It looks nice. I spent $150 on it.
  6. Because I have tried to be open in the evenings before, without a banner out front, and we were not successful at driving enough traffic.
  7. Because I pay City of Cleveland Heights taxes. Phoenix Coffee contributes to the community. In this instance I feel it is in the greater good of the community to endure the relative eyesore that is my sign in order to make the Phoenix Coffee evening hours available for the community.
  8. Because we have received compliments from customers about how nice the sign looks and about the fact that they noticed it and decided to come in.
  9. Because I have spoken with three city officials, Ed Kelley, mayor, David Cohen, inspector and Jevon Hall, planning department (?) about leaving my sign up and all indicated that this seemed like a reasonable request.
  10. Because the law should be changed to allow businesses to apply for temporary permits for banners so that information can be communicated to the public in a regulated manner.

I would appreciate any moral support!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah -

How long have you been associated with the Heights??? You know that any originality (temporary or otherwise) is not condoned unless it meets with the approval of a city hall wonk who hasn't a clue otherwise.

All you have to look at is the new monstrosity called the "Domain" that is about to be built down the street. Is it a warehouse or a prison building?

The Phoenix Phellows wish you luck!!!

2:54 PM, July 06, 2005  
Anonymous CJR said...

If things don't work out, Sarah, Bill and I are busy on Saturday, but we would be glad to visit you on Sunday. Have Carl call, if you want visitors. I'll bring food.

Good Luck! Dealing with government is never easy. "Rational" it is not.


9:08 AM, July 07, 2005  
Blogger bginley said...

fyi - next time call me when you might pay 150 for a plastic banner with type on it !!!!

1:50 PM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger artgirl said...

cleve hts. is a police state. you should see what they do to you if your shrubs hang an inch over the sidewalk. i have had a lovely run in with a city was nothing less than verbal abuse. good luck too you. i love phoenix and chocalacinos.

11:13 AM, August 09, 2005  

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