Paramus, New Jersey has had a "quality of life" ordinance, which has existed for decades.
However, the town is just now enforcing the ordinance, which includes fining businesses $200 or more, plus $33 in court costs, if their lighted signs don't go off at 11 p.m. (video below).
The ordinance requires store signs to be regulated by timers that automatically shut off the lights at 11 p.m. Store owners say they often don’t realize the timer is broken until they are ticketed.
According to MyFoxNY.com, 40 businesses have received fine notices so far in 2013.
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“Many of our businesses back up to residential properties, so it’s not just a way of torturing our businesses, who we love and appreciate, but it also is about maintaining the community and its character,” Mayor Richard LaBarbiera told NorthJersey.com.
“There are many residents that live adjacent to these properties that when the lights are left on, call more often than the businesses that complain about getting a summons.”
LaBarbiera added that quality-of-life ordinances have been good for Paramus residents: “Recently there was a study by the New Jersey Realtors Association that found only 25 percent of the communities in New Jersey saw an increase in their property values in terms of sale prices last year. Paramus was one of them."
Kathy Billard and her husband own a company called "Alternate Heat." She had no idea her sign was a problem until after she got fined.
"We've been her for 25 years and never had an issue," said Billard.
Her husband added that businesses should be allowed to pay the fine online or by mail instead of having to spend hours waiting in court.
Source: MyFoxNY.com and NorthJersey.com