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Liquor Store Owner, City Battling Over A Portable Sign

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Hastings business owner is in a battle with the city over a sign he has in front of his business.

For the past year, Rich Jacobson believes the city of Hastings has been picking on him. He believes the sign that sits in his pickup truck outside his Jake’s Discount Liquor Store is not in violation of a city ordinance against excessive signage.

Code enforcement officials, however, disagree and consider it a portable sign that needs to be taken down.

“I call this my freedom of expression mobile,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson says police ticketed and towed his truck claiming it was against city ordinance.

“These are some portable signs things they claim I am violating but it’s not a portable sign it’s a truck,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson drove the truck around town to show us other businesses he claims, according to the city ordinance, are also in violation.

“The guy that towed my vehicle, there was a sign on his truck. Now, is that illegal? Who is going to tow him?” Jacobson said.

Hastings Interim Police Chief Joe Kegley says officers are just enforcing the law.

“We had some violations in town. They were brought to the city’s attention the inspection department brought it to the businesses’ attention, the businesses complied with removing the violations, except Jake’s Discount Liquor,” Kegley said. “It’s against the ordinance to have two banners up for any single business also the ordinances covers one banner being up for more than 90 days is also a violation.”

But Jacobson calls it selective enforcement he plans to fight.

“Basically, made my motion for a temporary restraining order to keep them from enforcing this ordinance,” Jacobson said.

“He is speaking with our city attorney about how do we come to a compromise and how both sides come to an agreement, about what’s allowed, what’s good for business and, at the same time, what’s good of aesthetics of a very historic community,” Kegley said.

Jacobson says his truck is licensed and insured. He says the city has no right to tell him where he can park it, and what it can have in the back of it.

His next court appearance is set for Oct. 2.

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