OREM, Utah (AP) -- City officials are threatening to enforce the city's ordinance against signs on the lawns in front of businesses.
The city mailed business owners gentle reminders that it is against city ordinance to put anything on the landscaped areas, but no one seemed to pay attention.
Now the city is toughening up, and no business can expect to escape scrutiny.
"We can't just go after one. We have to go after them all," said Stanford Sainsbury, development services director.
There are at least 50 businesses violating the ordinance, he said. Violations range from temporary "Now Open" signs to businesses stacking tires and parking cars on the green space.
Up to this point, the city has been targeting businesses on a complaint basis, Sainsbury said.
But City Attorney Paul Johnson said authorities no longer will wait for a complaint and instead will visit the businesses in violation and tell the owners to take down the signs or move the cars off the grass. If they refuse, they may be issued a misdemeanor citation and they could end up in front of a judge.
"You do what is necessary to bring them into compliance," Johnson said.
However, few -- if any -- cases are expected to go wind up in court.
The purpose for requiring green lawns, trees and flowers in the city's business district is to make the city look more attractive. Also, putting signs and merchandise on the lawns and sidewalk clutters the area and can be a distraction for drivers, Johnson said.
About two years ago, the city had a number of problems with businesses setting up A-frame signs on the sidewalks.
Through enforcement, the city was able to get most of the problem taken care of, but those signs are "creeping back up" around town and will be addressed in the new wave of enforcement, Johnson said.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)