Hastings business owner Rich Jacobson said he isn’t ready to walk away from a dispute he has with the City of Hastings over what the city says are excessive signs in front of his business.
Jacobson owns Jake’s Discount Liquors on Vermillion Street and has run afoul of the city’s sign ordinance, or so the city claims.
Last month, a truck with a sign in the bed of it was ticketed and towed by Hastings police. Last week, Jacobson was in court to fight the citation.
“They offered to drop the ticket if I didn’t park the truck back here,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson declined that offer and instead made a couple requests of city attorney Dan Fluegel. Jacobson wants to know what evidence the city has against him, and he asked for a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance against him until the matter is resolved.
Jacobson’s next court hearing is Oct. 2.
‘I’m not in violation’
Jacobson said he is fighting the citation because the city’s “ordinance doesn’t apply to that truck,” he said.
“I’m not in violation,” he said. “It’s a truck. It’s not a sign. If they want to enforce that, every pizza guy going down the road, every commercial vehicle going through Hastings, would be cited.”
Jacobson is claiming the ordinance is being selectively enforced.
“The day before I went to court, I went through the city and you wouldn’t believe how many violations I saw. Cub Foods had six banners up. I have it on video. Where’s their ticket?
“I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
Meanwhile, the city stands by the action it took against Jacobson’s offending vehicle.
Justin Fortney, a planning associate at the city, said the sign ordinance is very clear. The big sign in the back of that truck is a violation of the city’s ordinance, he told the Star Gazette last month.
“By definition, it’s a portable sign,” he said. “It’s a sign structure that was built for the purpose of advertising. If you have a vehicle with lettering on it, that’s something different. That’s something he could do, and that’s something other people do.”
Jacobson drove the truck with the sign in the back of it to his court hearing in Hastings and says it is licensed and insured.