BullGate....Another one of those incidents where a law misapplied exposes government to ridicule.
Shawn Massey...owner of Massey's Furniture barn bought a fiberglass bull four years ago and mounted the icon on the roof of his Massey Street store.
The Bull had long been perched in front of the former Benny's Steak House where is served as a representation of the type of food sold in the restaurant.
The Bull became a bit of an icon and when the restaurant relics were auctioned off, Mr. Massey bought the bull and pledged to keep it in the neighborhood.
It went on his roof although it has no commercial nexus to the product sold there. In essence it is like one of those weather vanes with a rooster on it.
Recently another Arsenal Street business owner upset over someone complaining about his signage decided to photograph 28 other businesses with technical violations of the city's 1988 sign ordinance. The long problematic (my opinion) law suddenly was consuming staff time in the city's codes office and citations were issued. In all but one case the violations were corrected.
Mr. Massey's bull was deemed a "sign" that placed the store in excess of the maximum square footage for signs in that location.
Thus, to comply he will have to take it down, unless he gets a variance (more money and staff time) from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
I am a legislator, not a lawyer.
My solution is not to lawyer the issue to death...I feel the ordinance needs to be amended to exclude those iconic or artistic expressions unrelated to the principle commercial enterprise on the property.
That way a flag...a mural....a wooden Indian.....and the like would not fall under this law. Since lawmakers are naturally averse to lessening government's grip on the populace, I suspect my suggestion will be difficult to sell...But it's what I think needs to be done.
My other point is that snitching on people and playing "gotcha" can have unintended consequences.....It's not a good thing to do, even though it is encouraged by some.