Several Freeport businesses in violation of portable sign ordinance

FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - Freeport business owners could face fines if they don't follow specific city rules.

"I'm kind of over the constant we are here for the local businesses owners and then they do things like this," said Michell Magee, Logan’s Bar and Grill. 

City workers recently gave Magee a violation warning for having signs in her business's front lawn.

“I laughed, honestly. I was like just one more thing, you know, to kind of take away the 'shop local, support local business' atmosphere that they claim to be trying to create," Magee said. 

She's accused of violating the Portable Temporary Signs Ordinance which city leaders admit hasn't been enforced for years.

"We had been asked by the council to draft an ordinance related to this, and in reviewing it, we found this ordinance was already on the books," said Freeport City Manager, Lowell Crow. 

The ordinance requires businesses to pay $7.50 for each temporary sign, stores can have up to twelve at a time, the signs can stay up for 15 days but permits can only be requested every 75 days. 
"We calculated it out and they would make $30 a year, but you would have to deal with putting it up for two weeks and then taking it down for two and a half months," Magee said. 

"it's to prevent a large growth of signs to keep an attractive community," Crow said. 

While Magee understands that, she believes taking down the signs will have a negative impact on her business.

"People say 'oh I happen to be driving by to Walmart or Menards, and I saw your sign on the road.' okay, great. Okay know it's working and I know it's doing something," Magee said. 

Community event signs are allowed to be placed along the streets but must be taken down 72 hours after the event ends.