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Thread: HELP - Village attorney lies about sign ordinance/FOIA violation

  1. #1

    HELP - Village attorney lies about sign ordinance/FOIA violation

    In October of 1999, six months prior to my appointment as Zoning Administrator, a business owner complained about an "out of date" sign. The sign is still erected on a building that use to be a jewelry store, but since has moved(over ten years ago). The business owner complaining owns a new jewelry store in the same block and feels this sign is hindering his business because the village has allowed the sign to remain for advertisement of the other jeweler, only because he still owns the building which the sign is erected upon. In a response letter to the complaintant, our village attorney says, "It is in my opinion...the property owner retains deed to the property where the sign is erected, thus maintaining the right(through continuity) to advertise his business currently located in another town. However, the village attorney did not cite the proper ordinance to the complaintant. The ordinance reads: If the owner of a sign or the property on which a sign is located changes the location of a building, property line, or sign or changes the use of a building (which is now a ceramic shop)so that any sign on the property is made non-conforming, such sign must be removed or made to conform to this article.

    What kind of recourse do we have? Is our attorney in violation of the Freedom of Information Act? He did not give the complaintant the correct information.

  2. #2

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371

    HELP - Village attorney lies about sign ordinance/FOIA viola

    FOIA is a federal law that does not apply to your situation. You need to clearly understand why the attorney said what he/she said. This is important not only in this case, but 'cuz a zoning administrator simply cannot function without a working relationship with jurisdiction's counsel. Once you are sure you understand the attorney's position, and you still think its wrong, you should write up a recommendation to your local planning/zoning commission and governing body to clarify the ordinance by amending the language that is in dispute (though you of course won't say its in dispute, you will say its not clear, and that you need clarity to do your job). That will get the issue out in the open, get it debated, and give you clarity. You may not like the results, of course, but I think this is the best way to proceed.

  3. #3
         
    Registered
    Apr 1997
    Location
    In a Van Down By the River
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    107

    HELP - Village attorney lies about sign ordinance/FOIA viola

    Why don't you just ask the village attorney what happened before you call out the wolves? Are you sure this was an outright lie and not just an oversight? Direct communication should be a priority. I would assume the idea of maintaining a good working relationship with this individual may be more important to you long-term than this sign issue.

  4. #4

    HELP - Village attorney lies about sign ordinance/FOIA viola

    Hello Brent,

    Did you ever meet a Zoning administrator with any common sence? If they did they'd have a real job. How any body can grow up in our great country and decided their purpose in life is to take away the freedoms of future Americans! Cities violate to 4th and 14th constitutuional admendments daily on the fact that the average citizen has neither the monies or the time and knowledge to fight the long legal battle these bastards with unlimed resouces and money (tax dollars) can inflict their sence of values on all others. Free American? in not-so-free Arizona.

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