Sign billboards dispute

Daniel MacEachern
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Mount Pearl business makes its grievance with the city public

Brad Smith of S & S Supply Crosstown Rentals stands in front of his business on Topsail Road Friday afternoon. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Some store owners want you to ask them about their weekly specials. Brad Smith wants you to ask him about his dispute with the city.

The Mount Pearl businessman — owner of S&S Supply Crosstown Rentals — has taken his feud public on his business’ sign on Topsail Road, putting the message “City of Mount Pearl not the place to do business — Ask me why” on display.

Smith said Friday the dispute started when a nearby business complained to the city that Smith had his shop’s equipment displayed too close to the road.

“I’ve been in this location for seven years without issue by the town and I’ve always had my equipment out there to advertise, like everybody else does in Mount Pearl,” he said. “If you drive around, you’ll see people like Fun n’ Fast and all the companies advertise their equipment to let people know what they do.”

Smith said the complainant is a business owner who has “taken a dislike” to S&S, and complained that Smith was breaking the law by putting his equipment on his front lot.

“The city felt obligated to address it, and in addressing it, over the last six months, I’ve attempted many, many, many times to visit with them, discuss, try to mediate something that will work for them and us,” he said. “They’ve come back and said we’re causing a safety issue with sight-lines and snow-clearing.”

S&S has a 40- to 45-foot buffer zone in which he’s not supposed to have his equipment, he said, but everyone else in the area has a five-foot buffer, and he’s asked the city for a compromise. “I’m asking them to … give me a 25-foot buffer zone, which is 20 feet more than everybody on the strip. ... That would still leave me room to display some of my equipment so I can show off new equipment.”

Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms said Monday the city isn’t picking on Smith, but is obligated to ensure the rules are enforced.

“For us, the regulatory piece is what has to be upheld,” said Simms, who pointed out the decision was prompted by a complaint from another business operator.

“This wasn’t the city out hunting somebody down. … It was recognized after the city investigated that there appeared to be validity in the complaint, and we had to uphold the regulation and rules, and that’s all that happened in this particular context.”

The city hasn’t been interested in compromise, said Smith, and out of frustration he called VOCM’s Open Line radio program, which is hosted by Simms, to air the dispute.

“Mr. Simms called me an hour after and indicated that we need to get this resolved,” said Smith. “(Simms said) ‘Do not call the show anymore. Here’s my cell number. If we do not get this resolved, call me first.’”

Smith said he thought he was getting a fresh start with the city, but he said administration were still unwilling to allow a variance or rezone his property.

He said he suspects favouritism towards the complainant — who he declined to identify — and so a couple of weeks ago decided to put the anti-Mount Pearl message on his sign.

“Out of sheer frustration, I want the public to know this town, this council, this planning department — (is) not the place to try to work with, because they’re not willing to work with anyone. It’s their way or the highway.”

Simms said Smith’s sign won’t influence any decision made by the city.

“You’re certainly allowed to do that if you want,” he said. “The idea behind going public with it obviously is to be able to argue the point, and I guess the effort is an effort to embarrass council by putting up that sign. That’s fine. If that’s the avenue you want to go. I don’t think at the end of the day it’s going to matter one way or the other as it comes to decision-making on the part of council.”

Simms also said he wasn’t worried about the sign hurting Mount Pearl’s business dealings.

“I think the overall reality is that for businesspeople who do business in Mount Pearl, this is actually quite a good place to do business,” he said. 

“I don’t see this kind of dispute as being one that has universal application to the city, so no, I don’t see it as a major problem. … I don’t think it’ll scare off any businesspeople.”

Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: SS Supply Crosstown Rentals

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Topsail Road

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Recent comments

  • Whaddaya At
    February 09, 2013 - 10:51

    The City of Mt. Pearl has given this man a 40-45 ft. buffer zone for safety reasons. He conveniently doesn't indicate what type of equipment other businesses have and why their buffer zones are smaller than his. Basically, he wants Council to bend its rules to accommodate him. If Council did that and it resulted in a serious or fatal accident, would this man agree to be a co-defendant in any lawsuit brought against the City of Mount Pearl ?. No ?. Didn't think so.

  • Turry from town
    February 08, 2013 - 05:32

    Welcome to Hickville Brian.

  • Jim Harris
    February 05, 2013 - 15:54

    Amalgamate!!!! Easy solution. Mount Pearl.... pwift....

  • McLovin
    February 05, 2013 - 13:36

    How were City Tire allowed to rebuild their building in practically the exact same location without having to control traffic access on and off Topsail Road and without having to comply with the City's Landscaping requirements?

    • JasonM
      February 07, 2013 - 18:58

      Control access on and off Topsail Road? Do we really need yet another crew of flagmen hindering the flow of traffic on Topsail Road? I appreciate the fact that traffic isn't brought to a standstill every time someone wants to leave the City Tire site. As for the landscaping requirements - lets wait until the building is completed before we judge their compliance with city regulations. Why would they lay sod, plant trees, etc before the building and parking lot is finished. I don't know much about landscaping, but that seems like the smart way to develop a lot.

    • McLovin
      February 11, 2013 - 08:32

      Controlled access has nothing to do with flagmen and there are other issues involved with landscaping than just sod and trees. Maybe you should do some research before commenting on things you know nothing about.

  • Political Watcher
    February 05, 2013 - 11:20

    The City are picking on this guy; just drive around Mount Pearl and see the differences in properties and they City cherry picks who they g after. Case in point, there is a residence on Topsail Road at the entrance of the new business park where they have used cars and trucks parked all over the place. They have scrapped cars there and even has a large container at the rear of the property. There is no used car permit, scrap yard permit or fence around the property. Drive through Donovans, they crucified one business owner over the placement of his fence saying it was too close to the road, they threatened to shut him down. Yet, directly across the street, and I mean directly across, from him a major offshore company built a new building and placed their fence right to the road and not a word was said. There are many casse where the City choose who to bother and it appears that it is continuing today.

  • Anon
    February 05, 2013 - 11:17

    I'm perfectly happy with things not being in my way when I'm driving.

  • saelcove
    February 05, 2013 - 10:14

    Someone probably wants the land do not expect truth from council, Simms is a Newfie joke

  • brian
    February 05, 2013 - 08:40

    Just drive Topsail Road through Mount Pearl, check car lots with vehicles all over front lawn, portable signs and regular signs interferring with sight lines, if they deal with one i hope they will deal with all the others, complaint or no complaint!!!!

  • Mark
    February 05, 2013 - 08:38

    Wow, people complain about St. John's city council and they've got nothing on the Mt. Pearl crowd!! What a ridiculous situation!! Why is it that every other business has 5ft but he needs 40-45ft. And worse, I wish he would let us know who the idiot is that complained. He's the real problem Out him & city council so that consumers can decide not to do business with the other guy. I certainly wouldn't. Then again, what do you expect from the City of Mt. Pearl who have brought the likes of Simms, Lane and Kent. Childish losers who dont' have an ounce of professionlaism in them. Why anyone would want to live in Mt. Pearl let alone own a business there is beyond me when you have the likes of those 3 idiots in power. What's worse, is that what kind of peope live in Mt. Pearl that would continaully elect these buffoons.

  • Perry
    February 05, 2013 - 07:37

    I must say I agree with Mr Smith on this one . It appears Mt Pearl council is picking on one company and allowing many to do what he cant do .

  • Scott
    February 05, 2013 - 07:30

    Mr Smith I know where your coming from...Few years back...I had dealing with this guy and Mr Paul Lane...bad EXPERIENCE..

  • Dianne
    February 05, 2013 - 06:53

    That Simms for you...He love it when other peoples bring up POLITICIAN...So long is never bouht to light...He like for everyone...TO THINK HE IN A CLASS OF HIS OWN...WHAT A JOKE THIS MAN IS...

    • Proud Mt. Pearlean
      February 05, 2013 - 12:36

      Dianne Why don't you go back to school and learn how to structure a sentence that's a little easier to read (especially for all your Townie buddies who can't read that well.

    • carogers
      February 05, 2013 - 13:30

      Dianne, what are you saying? or I should ask what are you shouting? Using ALL CAPS on a comment means u are yelling at people. I also don't understand if its his radio show and someone is on the line with him how can his name not "bouht to light..." and how is he like everyone??? Then you call him a joke??????