Earl Wilson was contacted by East Ridge Codes Enforcement officials on Friday afternoon while soliciting signatures for a liquor store referendum and told that he must get a permit for his small sign that he has hung to draw attention to his cause.
Wilson has been at 5740 Ringgold Road for the last few days in an effort to get 705 voters to sign a petition that would put a measure on the November ballot allowing voters to decide the legality of selling liquor in package stores in East Ridge.
Wilson said the supervisor of Codes Enforcement, Sara Stageberg, said that Wilson must get a permit from City Hall for his small plastic sign hanging between poles at the old Milk Jug.
“I’m performing a public service to the community,” Wilson said. “I’ve got to go get a permit? Doesn’t codes enforcement have more pressing issues than this sign?”
According to a narrative describing the Building/Codes Department in the 2020-21 budget, Wilson’s sign may have been a priority.
The narrative states: “Our staff receives reports and complaints from neighborhoods on a daily basis. Each report/complaint is investigated, evaluated, and then prioritized. This system helps ensure that critical issues are handled immediately and other, less severe complaints are handled in a timely manner.”
Wilson said he put in a phone call to assistant city manager Kenny Custer. According to Wilson, Custer said the city wasn’t going to insist that he get a permit for the sign but that someone had complained.
Custer told East Ridge News Online that city officials were aware that Wilson was going to solicit signatures for the petition from the building on Ringgold Road but did not know he was going to hang a banner drawing attention to the petition.
Custer said Wilson would have to pony up $75 for a temporary sign permit that is required under the city’s sign ordinances.
Custer confirmed that codes officials received a complaint that prompted their actions. He said that there is no record of who may have lodged the complaint.
Wilson told East Ridge News Online that he would comply and get a permit for his sign.
Click on the link below for the city’s sign ordinance. Temporary signs are under section N: http://www.eastridgetn.gov/getattachment/Goverment/Departments/Building-Codes-Divison/Permits,-Codes,-Zoning-Information/Sign-Ordinance.pdf.aspx