Tammy Mutasa, Garland/Mesquite Reporter
For the steer to stay, the owner has to buy a special event permit or the sign code would have to be amended.
A new restaurant in Rockwall was forced to put its cow out to pasture after a sign meant to attract business attracted attention from code enforcement.
Rob Gates, owner of Cole Mountain Feed Store, borrowed the 20-foot fiberglass steer to draw attention to his new steak and barbecue restaurant.
"If I was driving down the road and hungry and saw a cow that looked like that it'd draw my attention and I'd pull in,” said Gates.
Unfortunately the steer drew the attention of Rockwall Code Enforcement.
"I was confronted by a code enforcement officer and he told me it had to go out of town or he would give me a citation everyday he saw it in town,” said Gates.
The city told Gates the restaurant already had a sign and the bovine was too big for the shopping center.
"Basically it was something larger than what we could permit as a sign, but we were able to issue a special event permit which allowed him to leave it there for a 14-day period,” said Jeffrey Widmer from the City of Rockwall Building and Code Inspection.
The $75 temporary special events permit would allow Gates to post the steer outside the restaurant four times a year.
Gates also has the option of appealing to the Rockwall City Council to amend the sign ordinance and ask for variances in height, material or size.
"The city of Rockwall is very pro-business, and so certainly whatever we can do to help businesses come to town, be successful, we want to do,” said Widmer.
Gates said he won’t have a cow about the sign, but he is looking for a new icon to represent his restaurant.
"I am not giving up on finding a cow," he said.