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International Sign Association, Illinois Sign Association Join Small Business Coalition in Major Victory in Chicago




Small businesses in Chicago will now have an easier time receiving a permit for new signs, thanks to the work of the International Sign Association and its Affiliated Association, the Illinois Sign Association and a coalition of small business advocates.

ISA and the Illinois Sign Association had worked with the Small Business Advocacy Council, a coalition of Chicago-area chambers of commerce and local merchants, for more than a year to streamline an arduous and lengthy permitting process that required city council approval before a sign could be installed. The process also required signs to seek new permits every five years, even when the sign did not change. The Chicago City Council passed a law streamlining the permitting process at the July 20 meeting. The SBAC estimated that it would reduce the amount of time spent waiting for a permit by 50-80 percent.

“Removing this overly restrictive permitting provision will enable small businesses in Chicago to grow,” said David Hickey, ISA’s vice president of advocacy. “It is exciting to think that the third largest city in the United States has a better understanding of how signs mean business in its community.”

The coalition worked for more than a year, launching a grassroots campaign to detail the burdensome process—and the negative impact of opening a business without a sign, or without a properly permitted sign. The campaign included video testimonials with small business owners detailing the negative impact the permitting process had on their businesses.



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