No beans about it: Changes to ordinance ‘a great effort’

WAILUKU – Even after being threatened with a county citation, Maui Coffee Roasters owner Nicky “Beans” Matichyn refused to remove a window painting that announced what he was selling in his store.

“For me to put up ‘coffee’ was logical,” Matichyn said as he recalled a county inspector telling him to take the word “coffee” off his store window this past summer. He never did, and now that the Maui County Council has approved changes to the commercial signs ordinance, it appears that Matichyn’s window may remain.

Council members approved 7-0 amending the ordinance in a meeting Tuesday in the Council Chambers. The measure advances to the desk of Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

“I’m impressed and excited with what we accomplished,” said Doug Allen, the owner of Island Signs and a member of a subcommittee that provided suggested changes to county rules relating to commercial signs.

Both Allen and Matichyn expressed gratitude for a resolution that caused frustration among business owners who complained they were unfairly being targeted for illegal business signs this past summer.

At the heart of the problem was the definition of an information sign in front of commercial businesses. The bill would allow a business to identify on its sign or windows a product or service within its establishment.

The current ordinance only allowed businesses to list store hours, conditions of sale and acceptable credit cards.

The law on commercial signs was intended to protect Maui’s natural beauty and keep commercial centers from looking tacky, officials said.

But the most recent complaints and enforcement by county inspectors became unreasonable, business owners said, when they learned they could not list products and services on their windows.

In Matichyn’s case, he had coffee and the word espresso painted on windows below his business sign Maui Coffee Roasters. “I said that’s silly. I can’t say I sell coffee? That’s really silly,” he said.

Working with Council Member Sol Kaho’ohalahala, Matichyn came up with suggested language for a change in the county ordinance. Council Member Joe Pontanilla, the Tavares administration and the Maui Chamber of Commerce got involved in community meetings that drew other suggestions to the commercial signs ordinance.

“I think it was a great effort by the citizens,” the county administration and the county council, Matichyn said. “Everybody was on the same page to make life easier. . . . It was a great civics lesson.”

Allen himself suggested one more change to the ordinance during Tuesday’s council meeting. The amendment called for allowing a business to cover no more than 50 percent of its window space with promotional or informational sign messages.

He said that to apply graphics or lettering to the windows that advertise products or services in a business “seems to be a natural extension of the already legitimate opportunity to display products in the window.”

Council members amended the bill to incorporate Allen’s suggestion.

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WAILUKU – Even after being threatened with a county citation, Maui Coffee Roasters owner Nicky “Beans” Matichyn refused to remove a window painting that announced what he was selling in his store.

“For me to put up ‘coffee’ was logical,” Matichyn said as he recalled a county inspector telling him to take the word “coffee” off his store window this past summer. He never did, and now that the Maui County Council has approved changes to the commercial signs ordinance, it appears that Matichyn’s window may remain.

Council members approved 7-0 amending the ordinance in a meeting Tuesday in the Council Chambers. The measure advances to the desk of Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

“I’m impressed and excited with what we accomplished,” said Doug Allen, the owner of Island Signs and a member of a subcommittee that provided suggested changes to county rules relating to commercial signs.

Both Allen and Matichyn expressed gratitude for a resolution that caused frustration among business owners who complained they were unfairly being targeted for illegal business signs this past summer.

At the heart of the problem was the definition of an information sign in front of commercial businesses. The bill would allow a business to identify on its sign or windows a product or service within its establishment.

The current ordinance only allowed businesses to list store hours, conditions of sale and acceptable credit cards.

The law on commercial signs was intended to protect Maui’s natural beauty and keep commercial centers from looking tacky, officials said.

But the most recent complaints and enforcement by county inspectors became unreasonable, business owners said, when they learned they could not list products and services on their windows.

In Matichyn’s case, he had coffee and the word espresso painted on windows below his business sign Maui Coffee Roasters. “I said that’s silly. I can’t say I sell coffee? That’s really silly,” he said.

Working with Council Member Sol Kaho’ohalahala, Matichyn came up with suggested language for a change in the county ordinance. Council Member Joe Pontanilla, the Tavares administration and the Maui Chamber of Commerce got involved in community meetings that drew other suggestions to the commercial signs ordinance.

“I think it was a great effort by the citizens,” the county administration and the county council, Matichyn said. “Everybody was on the same page to make life easier. . . . It was a great civics lesson.”

Allen himself suggested one more change to the ordinance during Tuesday’s council meeting. The amendment called for allowing a business to cover no more than 50 percent of its window space with promotional or informational sign messages.

He said that to apply graphics or lettering to the windows that advertise products or services in a business “seems to be a natural extension of the already legitimate opportunity to display products in the window.”

Council members amended the bill to incorporate Allen’s suggestion.

No
beans about it: Changes to ordinance ‘a great effort’ – Mauinews.com |
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