Sandy Cadotte-Keys of Dragon’s Lair Futons is the latest merchant frustrated by the city’s draconian sign ordinance, which she believes unfairly hobbled her for the two years she tried to do business from a warehouse behind her former store on Liberty west of Stadium. When she put a sandwich board on a strip of lawn on Liberty, the city took it. The cops helped her get it back, but “[city planner] Chris Cheng said ‘if you put it out again, I’ll just take it.’ I did, and he did.”

Cheng admits he did take the signs: “It wasn’t just her. We do sign sweeps every couple of months.” While sandwich boards are permitted downtown as long as they don’t obstruct the sidewalk, they’re not allowed anywhere else. “Portable signs, banners, balloons–anything that’s distracting and not permanent is prohibited,” Cheng says.

That doesn’t impress Cadotte-Keys. “Over twenty-seven years I paid $250,000 in property taxes, and I can’t have one freakin’ sign,” she complains. She recently moved Dragon’s Lair to the Furniture Center in Scio Township (see Marketplace Changes, p. 41), so she now has a retail shop again. Ironically, though, she does not yet have a sign: the center is waiting to fill all its floor space before hoisting its permanent signage.