If You Don't Have the Right "Friendly Neighbor" Sign Posted You Could Be In Trouble [Plus a FREE Download!]
If you have a Tavern license in the City of Chicago you are required to put up a "Friendly Neighbor" sign in a conspicuous location. For some reason, there are lots of taverns in the City that just don't have that sign posted. And even if the sign is posted, many times the sign is just incorrect.
This may seem like a minor issue, but it's not. One of the first cases I handled as an attorney for the City of Chicago involved a tavern that had its license suspended for 30 days in part because it failed to post the Friendly Neighbor sign. Recently, one of License Law Group's clients was fined over $1,500 for failure to post the sign. Failure to post the Friendly Neighbor sign can even form the basis for a license revocation!
The problem is that the law makes something so simple very difficult to comply with. Fist, the law is buried in Health, Sanitation and Inspection Requirements part of the Municipal Code of Chicago. It's hard to find.
Next, the Municipal Code of Chicago mentions that any person who violates the Friendly Neighbor sign law shall be subject to a fine of $500.00 plus $100.00 per each day of a continuing violation. Well, that's just misleading. Sure, any person may be facing those fines, but when it comes to licensees, the penalties can be much more severe. In fact, the City can impose a fine, suspension, or revocation on a licensee for violating any part of the Municipal Code of Chicago. This ups the stakes quite a bit.
Finally, you can't just put any Friendly Neighbor sign up. The sign has to be worded correctly and it has to be the right size. If either or these are incorrect, the sign is non-compliant and you may have to pay the price. First, the wording. The sign must say, "A person exiting this establishment must depart in a quiet and courteous fashion, and must not cause disturbances to nearby residents, litter or damage private property." I can't tell you how many signs I have seen that say something completely different.
And the sign must be 14"x14". It sure would have been easier if the City allowed for a more standard size, right?
As a courtesy to our readers, License Law Group is offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of the Friendly Neighbor sign. Just click HERE, fill out the form, and print the sign on 14"x14" paper (you may need to go to a print shop to get this done).
NOTE: the law is always subject to change. Use at your own discretion and risk.
Have you been cited for not having a Friendly Neighbor Sign? Give us a call!