Manassas Journal Messenger 04-26-01



shop struggles with sign ordinance


Chris Newman



MANASSAS PARK – Jim Eskins, owner of the Manassas Park Barber Shop on

Centreville Road, has a problem with the city. His business needs visibility

to draw in customers, but the city won’t let him keep his sign, and that’s

going to hurt his business, he said.

“I think Manassas Park should be trying to work with me, not trying

to take down my signs,” he said, referring to his double-posted, wooden

sign set in the grass next to Centreville Road.

Eskins’ sign is only one of several that has been found to be a violation

of city and state codes, said Dan Painter, the city’s new planning and zoning

director, who since his hiring earlier this year has stepped up enforcement

of the rules for business signs along Centreville Road to improve its appearance.

“Rule No. 1: You have to have a permit for a sign,” Painter


Eskins had a temporary framed sign, which is not allowed in the city

and cannot be permitted, Painter said.

U-Haul had temporary signs and took them down, Painter said, just like

the sign Exxon took down, and the sign taken down by the A to Z Pawn shop

in the Manassas Park Shopping Center. They complied, but Eskins did not.

“He just takes my sign and doesn’t tell me it’s illegal,” said

Eskins, who has also owned Peoples Barber Shop in Old Town for the past

12 years. “This is America, not Russia. He took my sign. You just don’t

take things.”

Eskins then put up a wooden sign, but it’s not allowed because it is

within 15 feet of the roadway, Painter said. Eskins said the previous owner

was allowed to have a wooden sign at the same place, which according to

Melvin Pritchard, who has owned the adjacent House of Leather for 35 years,

had been there for more than a decade.

“Nobody said a word about that sign when it was there,” Pritchard


Eskins said he is also not allowed to post prices for haircuts in his

window or on signs – his competitors across the county line can use temporary

signs and post their prices.

Painter said that regardless, Manassas Park has its own set of regulations,

and there are no city records of a permit for a sign at that location, and

there are no grandfathered signs in the city. Eskins should have checked

before he moved in to see if the previous sign was legal, he said.

“He can apply for a sign that meets the code in another location,”

Painter explained, reading the state requirement that says a 15-foot setback

must be maintained from “highway” to outdoor advertising, with

some exceptions and “highway” defined as just about any roadway,

he read.

Councilwoman Jonell Pizzola, whose next door neighbor Verlin Bryant was

the previous owner of the barber shop before he died last fall, said she

sympathizes with Eskins, but rules need to be followed. It is a balance

between maintaining a certain appearance for the city and for small businesses,

which “in a small city, you’ve got to do what you can to try and attract

business, so I’m sure it’s rough on him,” she said.

“People have complained to the [City Council] that it almost appeared

to be, ‘Why isn’t the city enforcing the rules? Why are they not consistent?'”

Mayor Bill Treuting said. “We agree, the city code should be consistent

and equally enforced, and if this is what is approved,” then it must

be enforced, he said.

Painter said he will continue enforcing the rules. The Farrish Suzuki

no longer has balloons on its signs for sales, in accordance with city codes,

he said. And soon Capital Furniture will have to replace the light bulbs

in its sign to keep its appearance up, he said.

For Eskins his dispute with the city goes to court May 10.



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