Perhaps the most damning critique of the city’s ever-unpopular Licenses and Inspection that followed in the wake of the department’s war on cupcake trucks last August, was that Philadelphia and its code enforcers were upholding an anti-business mentality. How else could you explain L&I;’s repeated persecution and impoundment of up-and-coming businesses with an eager and hungry following? Anyhow, it looks like L&I; is standing in the way of progress again this week, but this time its pestering bar owners. Not for serving minors, operating after hours nor plying visibly intoxicated customers with drink. It’s targeting some of the city’s most popular watering holes for neon signs!
As NBC Philadelphia reports, L&I; slapped The Institute with $1,200 in penalties for six neon signs hanging in the bar’s windows. True to L&I; form, the infraction stems from a rarely enforced code that requires businesses to have a special permit to hang signs. John Longacre, president of The Philadelphia Tavern Owners Association and owner of South Philly Tap Room and the forthcoming American Sardine Bar, is quoted in the piece, saying that the enforcement of these obscure and ridiculous rules is “making it almost impossible to open and support a business in the city.”
Sure the code is stupid and serves no one’s interest — well, maybe L&I;’s bottom line — but if the success of your business is dependent on steering clear of L&I;’s wrath, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to be informed of and conduct your business in compliance with its rules?
L&I; “Nickel-and-Diming Bars to Death” [NBC Philadelphia]