City throws out tickets for mom and pops’ sandwichboards • Brooklyn Paper

City throws out tickets for mom and pops’ sandwichboards

Zoe Bowick tears up a summons she received for placing an A-frame sign in front of her Seventh Avenue gym.
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

The city, in an abrupt about-face, is now allowing storeowners to put A-frame signs on the sidewalk again after cracking down this fall on the alleged sidewalk obstruction.

A new memo from the Department of Sanitation instructs enforcement officers not to issue tickets “as long as [the sign] does not impede pedestrian traffic.”

The rules were not as lenient in the fall when shopkeepers on commercial strips in Cobble Hill and Park Slope were penalized en masse with fines up to $300 for putting their signs on the sidewalk.

Back then, the Sanitation Department told The Brooklyn Paper that businesses were on the wrong side of the law if their signs protruded more than three feet from the front of a store.

The department confirmed the existence of the memo, first reported on brownstoner.com, but did not explain why it had adopted the new policy. But the businesses that got ticketed a few months ago were happy to speak up

“It’s funny that they would send out citations as if it was important and then drop it so suddenly,” said Berlin Reed, who works in Cobblestone Foods on Smith Street.

Other storeowners hope the sudden reversal will get their unresolved cases dismissed.

“Taking time out of work is silly,” said Zoe Bowick, co-owner of the Park Slope Fitness Collective, “but it’s punishment we shouldn’t have had.”

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