Hoboken salon owner faces $40,000 in fines over sign ordinance

"Feather signs" like the one pictured were outlawed in Hoboken in 2012. (8/31/16)

HOBOKEN - A Hoboken hair salon owner says that he is facing more than $40,000 in fines because he refuses to take down a sign advertising his place of business.

Hoboken banned “feather signs” in 2012, but Shear Madness owner David Adier says his sign should be grandfathered in because he bought his in 2011.

"I believe I have a right to keep it up and if everybody gave up their rights it wouldn't be the United States anymore,” Adier says.

Hoboken has taken him to court four times, arguing that only a permanent sign can be grandfathered. But Adier says that he cannot have a permanent sign because the condo association Shear Madness is located in does not allow them.

"All of us don't have any proper sign because the building doesn't allow it,” he says. 

Adier says that he is due back in court on Sept. 21. He says that he has already turned down two plea deals.

“I don't intend in paying [the city] until there's good reason for me to pay them,” Adier says.

Hoboken Councilman Mike DeFusco says the answer is to change the ordinance, to protect Hoboken's small businesses.

"You have to give a small business a proper way to advertise themselves or else we'll have empty storefronts,” DeFusco says.

Councilman DeFusco plans to submit a new ordinance at next week's council meeting. If the ordinance passes, businesses that aren't allowed by landlords to put up signage will be able to put up feather signs.

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