Sidewalk sign causes ruckus

Photo by Tereasa Nims
The A-frame sign in front of Allen Park’s Southfield Liquor, 15672 Southfield Rd. that has one resident concerned for their safety and the business owner feeling singled out.

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — For nearly three years one sign has caused Hani Yono, owner of Southfield Liquor, 15672 Southfield Road, many headaches while another resident wonders why the issue can’t already be resolved.

“I’ve been singled out,” Yono said Thursday. “This is ethnic intimidation.”

The single A-frame wooden sign advertising beer specials has taken up many hours of the City Council’s time in the past three years. Yono said he gets a permit, he puts the sign out and then he gets a visit from the city saying he did something wrong.

Yono was cited again on July 8, this time for not having the sign at least two-feet away from the sidewalk and not having his permit to have the sign, displayed in his window.

He said he abides by the two-foot requirement stated in the ordinance, but people may move the sign or the wind blows it.

Yono said it’s always something.

“It’s a different story all the time,” Yono said at the July 8 city council meeting he attended after the recent citation. “They said the citizen called and he raised hell and complained.”

Yono said then that sends a building official to his business he has owned for 26 years.

“Every time the citizen calls the city, the city comes to me,” Yono said. “This issue has to stop.”

Yono said if it doesn’t, he can only consider taking serious action.

“The citizen” Michael Mullins, is equally frustrated with the situation, which he also made apparent at the July 8 council meeting.

“I don’t know why it takes three years to address a problem,” Mullins said.

“This is not about ethnic intimidation,” Mullins said, later noting he is also of Middle Eastern decent. “This is not about harassment. It’s about the safety of the residents of Allen Park. It’s about my safety.

“It’s definitely an obstruction to traffic,” Mullins added.

In hopes to put an end to the controversy, Councilman Bob Keenan asked a personal favor of Yono during the meeting.

“We’ve tried to partner with you and we’re asking you to partner with us,” Keenan said. “This sign here is an obstruction to traffic. Even if you put it two feet back.

“I’m asking you personally to just remove the sign,” Keenan said, adding that Yono has plenty of signage around the store.

Keenan said the issue has become a tug of war and he would like to see it resolved.

Drivers in the area Thursday afternoon said the sign, then nearly three feet from the sidewalk, was not an obstruction.

“I can see fine past it,” said Bob Milford, who was driving a pickup truck.

Another driver, in a Ford Taurus said it wasn’t obstructing her vision.

Yono said Thursday that he had at least 40 customers sign a petition saying the sign didn’t impact their vision.

“I could get at least 400 more,” Yono said.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at