Banners Cause Controversy in America

Another example of town officials making it hard for businesses to promote themselves was seen on the other side of the Atlantic in the town of Silverton last month.

Montanya Distillers fell out with the local authority about banners the company hung outside the rum distillery at 1332 Notorious Blair St.

The five temporary banners, which advertised two upcoming concerts, celebrated the Fourth of July holiday and welcomed archaeologists to town, apparantly violated city code.

The city planning code for banners allows only temporary banners that are associated with national, local or religious holidays.

A spokesman for the company said they hung the banners anyway because the town told them that temporary special-event banners were allowed. When they hung a banner advertising an upcoming visit by a band, however, the city gave them seven hours’ warning to remove the offending banners.

In municipal court Nov. 3, Judge Lyndon Skinner ruled against Montanya, citing that although the city hadn’t enforced the planning regulation in the past, the distillery’s banner was officially prohibited.

For their defense, the company photographed almost 20 other banners on buildings around town that broke the same code but hadn’t been cited by officials. The council rebuffed the companies argument in court, saying that other people in breach of the rules had  agreed to take down their banners.

Not only do such decisions effect the business using the banners to promote events but it also represents a loss of revenue for the company producing the advertising banners.