Cowtown Cracks Down on Signs

Popular hamburger joint ordered to remove name from window

By Scott Gordon
|  Thursday, Feb 4, 2010  |  Updated 10:22 AM CDT
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Sign Ordinance Upsets Some Business Owners

NBCDFW.com

City inspectors have ordered Kincaid’s Hamburgers on Camp Bowie Boulevard to scrape its name off its front window or face fines of $500 per day.

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Sign Ordinance Upsets Some Business Owners

Fort Worth is cleaning up clutter by enforcing the city's sign ordinance, but business owners say the city is going way too far.
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As part of a crackdown on signs, city inspectors on Tuesday ordered Kincaid’s Hamburgers on Camp Bowie Boulevard to scrape its name off its front window or face fines of $500 per day.

An ordinance passed two years ago forbids businesses from having signs or lettering that block more than 10 percent of a window. The law, aimed at cleaning up clutter, also limits the use of temporary and permanent signs.

The owner of the iconic hamburger joint, which opened in 1946, said he is puzzled by the order to remove the sign.

"We don't consider it offensive,” said Kincaid’s owner Ron Gentry. “There's nothing about it that would upset anyone. Obviously, the city is upset about it."

At least two other businesses near Kincaid’s also received similar orders.

The owner of a salon was given two days to remove a sign from her window, which advertises the services she sells, such as manicures and facials.

"And I'm like, ‘OK, so you're telling me I have to take it off?’” the owner of Salon One recalled asking the inspector. “And he said, ‘You have to take it off except for three lines.’”

Next door, a small business that sells cupcakes was ordered to remove a temporary sign with two helium-filled balloons out front.

City managers said the inspector was just doing his job, enforcing a law designed to make the city look better.

"We're not trying to negatively impact anyone's business,” said David Hall, assistant manager of Fort Worth’s planning department.  “The ultimate goal is compliance with the law, and we'll give people enough time to come into compliance."

He noted that businesses can appeal the orders to the city’s Board of Adjustment.

The owner of Kincaid’s said city leaders should rethink the entire ordinance.

"That signage is very important for these small independent businesses,” Gentry said. “There aren't a lot of chains up and down Camp Bowie… and we need our signage so people can see us."

Several customers echoed his comments and said the advertising is harmless.

“I love the sign, I love the burger, and I see no reason for the sign to go,” said one man.

Hall said the city is enforcing the sign ordinance all over the city, not just along Camp Bowie.

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