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    Sandwich Boards….No No in Chicago

    The city’s budget shortfall is taking shape in fines – lots of them. I recently received communication from the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce regarding sandwich boards displayed on the public way. (http://bit.ly/nqNRat). CDOT is cracking down and issuing fines, starting now.

    For any business owner that has used these in the past, it can help drive traffic and business (doesn’t more revenue equal more tax to the city?). In Chicago, however,  you must have a permit for any usage of the public way since the City owns this property. Interestingly enough, no permitting exists for these sandwich boards (Realtors, take note: open house signs fall under this category).

    So, you can’t apply for a permit and pay the city to display them…but you can be fined $500 for each occurrence. Perhaps the city should explore this as a way to add revenue. I’m quite sure Realtors like myself would gladly pay a reasonable fee to register signs for use on the public ways, and would obey guidelines set forth as to how these could be displayed. In the interim, my open house signs will have to be relegated to sitting on top of my car with bungee cords in front of the open house property!

    While I don’t like open houses to sell properties (they rarely work for that), they are great tools for realtors to generate future business. But for homeowners who want to try everything to generate traffic and interest on their properties in this depreciated real estate market, it hardly seems fair to simply stop this practice without producing a viable solution. The city that works, indeed…

    Some additional resources:

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/bacp/general/Public%20Way%20Use%20Factsheet.pdf

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bacp.html