Legislation aims to protect businesses from being hit with sign fines

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SUNSET PARK -

New legislation aims to protect small businesses from getting penalized for having signs without a permit.

Sunset Park residents and store owners say they're thankful the new legislation is making it easier for smaller businesses to thrive by putting a freeze on tickets that were making it hard to keep their doors open.

The law will halt all sign violations for two years, waive penalties, and establish a task force to edit regulations.

Community members say stores were getting hit with thousands of dollars in fines for having awnings due to a spike in 311 complaints, which caused the city's Department of Buildings to issue violations. Store owners say that having no awning meant less business.

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Previous regulation mandated that stores needed permits to hang a sign outside, but community members argue that many business owners were never made aware of that law.

The new law establishes a task force to figure the best practices around awnings.

Store owners say with the new legislation, their previous tickets will be waived and they'll be able to put new signs on their storefronts.

The Department of Buildings tells News 12 it worked closely with the City Council to reduce sign-related penalties, its goal being to balance the concerns of small business owners while keeping the sidewalks safe.

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