In her complaint that, as a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, she had been singled out for enforcement action when she failed to get a certificate of appropriateness for her sign on Warren Street, Peggy Polenberg, backed up by her husband, Myron, cited other businesses in the city--more than thirty, they said--with signs that had gone up without "erection permits" or certificates of appropriateness. When the issue was discussed at a special meeting of the HPC on November 30, it was not clear what action, if any, the City, through the Code Enforcement Office, might take about this widespread circumvention of the law. On Friday, December 14, code enforcement officer Peter Wurster had the answer.
Wurster explained that the mayor and the city attorney have asked him to contact all the businesses whose signs went up without benefit of review by the Code Enforcement Office or, if located in a historic district, by the Historic Preservation Commission to let them know that they are in violation of city code and to ask them, after the fact, to apply for an erection permit and, if necessary, a certificate of appropriateness. City attorney Cheryl Roberts is, Wurster said, drafting the letter.
This announcement caused HPC member Phil Forman to worry about a "process logjam" and to wonder how the HPC could "streamline the process." Wurster promised to "stagger the mailings," assuring the HPC that "I won't inundate you with fifty [applications for certificates of appropriateness] at once." HPC member Tony Thompson reasonably dispelled the anxiety by saying, "Since we know there are no egregious problems [with the signs], this can be handled very efficiently."