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updated: 1/20/2014 11:51 PM

Palatine considers exception for florist sign

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The Palatine village council decided to stay the execution of a plan to allow Kinsch Village Florist and Garden Center to install a sign on residential property near Palatine Road that would point passers-by to the out-of-the-way, 76-year-old shop.

Ken and Diane Kinsch, the third generation of Kinsches to run the store, told the council that their location, which is surrounded by mostly residential property one block south of Palatine Road, makes the business easy for even residents to miss, something the sign would alleviate. The sign would be erected at 249 W. Palatine. The homeowners have agreed to allow Kinsch to build the sign there.

Mayor Jim Schwantz said while he would like to help out a business that has been in town as long as Kinsch, he is concerned doing so may set a bad precedent.

Currently it is against village code for a business to install a permanent sign off its property. Schwantz said making an exception might start an avalanche of businesses looking to build signs of their own along busy streets blocks away from their property.

"We certainly can open a can of worms here," Schwantz said. "If we deny it of course, then we are not business-friendly, which is not the case. Everybody up here is sympathetic to (Kinsch's) plight."

Warren Kostka, a former Palatine council member, urged the trustees to make an exception in the code for the Kinsches.

"I think all of you need to remember that when someone goes through the zoning process they are asking you to put aside, if just for a moment, all the minutiae in the zoning code," Kostka said.

Kostka said the council in the past has offered to give millions in tax incentives to attract big-box businesses and that the Kinsch family was asking for a lot less.

"All they're asking for is kindness, which, where the Kinsches come from, kindness does matter," Kostka said.

Other sticking points in the discussion was the size of the sign. Currently the plan calls for a wooden sign 10 feet wide and 5 feet high.

Diane Kinsch said they were willing to make the sign smaller.

Village Manager Reid Ottensen proposed that discussion on the issue be postponed to allow the village staff to draw up an exception that would allow the Kinsches to build their sign without opening the door for others.

The discussion will be continued at the council's meeting on Feb. 17.

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