Dublin officials responded today to a disagreement with a business owner over a sign in front of his restaurant.
Phillip Chin that city officials have told him he must modify or take down the sign in front of his on Regional Street. He said his sign is actually smaller than another one right next to it.
This afternoon, Linda Smith, the city's public information officer, released the following statement:
“The City wishes to respond to the Dublin Patch story involving Mr. Chin and the Willow Tree sign.
In early December 2011, it was discovered that Mr. Chin erected a new sign on his property without City review, building permits and planning approval – which is a City requirement for the construction of a new sign. Staff issued a notice within days of the discovery. Within a few days, the City received a complaint from a neighboring business about the sign as well. Since that time, the City believed that we had been working in good faith with Mr. Chin to find a reasonable solution.
A sign of this height (more than six feet) requires, by code, that a building permit be issued and structural calculations prepared by a licensed Engineer. Mr. Chin did not do this. It is unclear to the City how this sign was constructed and whether it poses a health and safety issue until the City is able to obtain additional information on its construction and conduct an inspection.
City staff was in contact with Mr. Chin and/or his representatives since December to discuss the building and planning requirements to bring his sign into conformance. Mr. Chin indicated that he needed some time due to the Chinese New Year holiday and the City honored that request. In mid-February, Mr. Chin stopped by the City to discuss the requirements again and the City offered him interpreter services to assist in the discussion. Mr. Chin declined the City’s offer, indicating that a friend would assist him in a follow up meeting. Staff attempted to reach Mr. Chin on five occasions between late February and early March to resolve the matter.
A meeting was held with one of his representatives on March 27 to discuss the options of bringing the sign into conformance and extended our willingness to work with him on a reasonable solution. The City was told that Mr. Chin or his representative would be in contact with us. A subsequent meeting was held on April 18 with his representative who informed the City that Mr. Chin was going to remove the sign but needed additional time to do so. City staff received an email from his representative on April 23 in which it was expressed that Mr. Chin had “no interest” in meeting in regards to the sign situation. However, the City understands from Mr. Chin’s representative that Mr. Chin still intends to bring the sign into conformance.
As it relates to the reasonable solution mentioned earlier, the City has offered Mr. Chin and his representatives a couple of options – reduce the sign to under six feet so that structural calculations are no longer needed or reduce the sign area with additional building materials and provide structural calculations to bring the sign into conformance, with the first option being the least difficult to do. Additionally, comparisons continue to be made with the adjacent sign featuring the Holiday Inn and Outback Steakhouse. This is multi-tenant sign with the proper approvals and permits for its design and construction. Comments attributed to Blog regarding the reasons why the City may be such action are unfounded and completely false.
Mr. Chin has been a long-standing and well-known business owner in Dublin and the City wishes him continued success in operating Willow Tree Restaurant. The City takes great pride in our ongoing working relationship with the business community, particularly with small businesses and we work fairly and honestly to resolve matters in order to have the least amount of impact on business. The City will continue to be willing to work and meet with Mr. Chin and/or his representatives to reach a solution.”