An Indianapolis billboard company has chosen to attack Westfield’s sign ordinance in a very disrespectful and thoughtless manner. GEFT Outdoor LLC has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Westfield’s sign ordinance, particularly the ordinance’s ban on pole signs, which has been in place for years. This filing, in and of itself, is certainly allowed and any person or company has a right to do so. GEFT Outdoor LLC has chosen, however, to take this challenge to a new and very disheartening level as an attack on local government.
Over the past several weeks GEFT has begun installation of this banned sign on the property of Bob’s Garage, 16708 Dean Rd. on U.S. 31. No permit has been issued by the City of Westfield. Pole signs are specifically prohibited by City of Westfield Unified Development Ordinance, section 6.17.E.4. Work on the structure has continued despite the city issuing and posting several stop work orders. On Dec. 16, a crane was observed at the site preparing to lift a vertical section of the pole sign. City personnel responded and were able to cease the operation.
The City of Westfield has never experienced this level of blatant disregard and lack of respect to its government and community. Our citizens decided many years ago to establish a carefully worded sign ordinance prohibiting pole signs. The ordinance was properly and legally processed through the Plan Commission and the city council. The strategy by GEFT is obvious: Proceed with this illegal installation while the ordinance is being legally challenged in federal court, a rather slow process in itself. Meanwhile, the sign would be in place. As a result, the citizens of Westfield are being forced to pay huge legal fees with their tax dollars to defend this frivolous action and illegal installation.
I am sure the outdoor advertising industry is dominated by respectful, responsible entities. What a great disgrace to that industry that this one company would exhibit such blatant disregard toward the City of Westfield and the many other municipalities with similar ordinances.
J. Andrew Cook, Mayor