LEWISTON -The patio table and sign in front of Joan Pelletier’s sandwich shop are more than sidewalk clutter.

The sign tells passersby about specials on the menu at Just Joan’s each day, and the table provides a comfortable place to sit on warm days.

“People look for my sign to see if I’m open or not,” Pelletier said. “If it’s out, that’s how they tell.”

So Pelletier was surprised last week when Code Enforcement Officer Kim Austin delivered a letter asking her to remove the sign because it violates a city ordinance.

“My table is safe, because it’s on my property, but moving the sign would be a pain for me,” she said. “It really is a part of my business.”

Gil Arsenault, Lewiston’s deputy development director, said Pelletier’s sign and similar ones along Lisbon Street can stay for another few weeks at least, while the city develops a new policy for sidewalk obstructions.

Arsenault has been letting people know about the ordinance and asking them to comply.

“By consensus, they haven’t been very pleased,” he said. “So we’re not going to enforce the ordinance as it stands, but we’ll come up with a new ordinance.”

City Councilor Marc Mason said he has had several complaints about the signs and tables of merchandise in front of Lisbon Street stores. He encouraged staff to begin enforcing the ordinance, he said.

“We have millions of dollars we’ve spent on downtown Lewiston,” Mason said. “And then we have all of these plastic tables and chairs and signs and stuff, and it looks like an eyesore instead of a beautification.”

The issue is scheduled to go before the City Council on June 3.

Arsenault said his staff was acting on those complaints. City ordinances currently forbid sidewalk obstructions that extend more than a foot from a building. That includes piles of debris such as dirt and wood, and any kind of impediment that could obstruct walkers.

“Basically, we are asking them to abide by the ordinance and just be reasonable,” Arsenault said.



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