Oswego Store Owner: Village Unfriendly to Businesses
Mar 05, 2014 04:32PM ● Published by Steven Jack
Brightly colored safety jackets hang outside The Man Store Wednesday in violation of the village's code against outdoor sales. Credit: Steven Jack
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An Oswego business owner blasted the village of Oswego Tuesday night for what she called an unfriendly business environment.
Rasma Motykowski, co-owner of The Man Store at the corner of routes 34 and 71, called the village hypocritical for hitting her store with code violations for hanging brightly colored coats outside the store, non-compliant signage and the parking of their commercial trailer at the intersection to attract potential customers.
She spoke Tuesday night to members of the Village Board during the public comment portion of their Committee of the Whole meeting, saying the hanging clothes and trailer help drum up new business to the store.
The Man Store sells construction safety equipment, and has been open at that location for three years. Motykowski said she’s been hanging the coats outside the store and parking the trailer for nearly that entire time without incident.
It was in January that she said she first received notification from the village that she was in violation of a code requiring a special-use permit to display for-sale items outside, the village’s sign ordinance and an ordinance prohibiting the parking of a commercial vehicle adjacent to the roadway.
“This over-regulation is directly inhibiting my opportunities to bring in new business,” Motykowski said. “ … This village is not in any shape or form business-friendly. Maybe the village should revisit its business-friendly motto.”
Contacted at the store Wednesday, Motykowski’s husband, Larry, said he and his wife feel like they are being unfairly targeted. He pointed to several other businesses around town that place items for sale outside and or park commercial trailers adjacent to roadways.
Rod Zenner, the village’s Community Development Director, said big box stores in the village that display items outdoors have additional room for parking and such outdoor-sale conditions were put in place when the buildings were constructed. The Myotykowski's commercial vehicle is also taking up several parking spaces in a lot with already not much room for parking, Zenner said.
Zenner also said the village began looking at non-compliant signs around the village at the beginning of the year in preparation for possible revisions to the sign ordinance. He said other business have been warned about non-compliance.
Further, he said the Motykowskis applied for a sign permit in January for additional signage at their store, and were approved. However, the permit still sits at Village Hall.
The Motykowskis have said they have no intention of complying with what they see as onerous village code enforcement. They received two fines Wednesday totaling $305.
“I’m not paying the fines. They can fine me out of business,” Larry Motykowski said. “I guess I’ll be the martyr here.”