Published: Jul 18, 2014 1:48 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 18, 2014 1:52 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A lot of local businesses use signs outside their establishment to attract customers, but after a run in with code enforcement, one man found out that putting up a few signs can be pretty pricey for a small businesses.

Steve B's Waterfront café and Biergarten on the corner of First and Henley has been open for about two years.

"I've always had a dream to open a little cafe," said owner, Steve Brantner. "Never really worked at a restaurant before in my life, but it's been very interesting. I didn't realize it was going to be as much work as it has been."

Brantner has been using his location to advertise his business, but he found out quickly that some of the signs he put up weren't going over well with code enforcement.They came by and said he had to take them down because he didn't have the permits. Brantner says getting the permits would have cost him between $1,100 - $1,200.

"It's hard on a small business," he said. "You're just trying to get out there and get it going and it just seems like everybody's got their hand out there."

We talked with Rick Scott, the field supervisor over at code enforcement who says there's a reason for all the regulations on how many signs a business can have.

"It's the look of the community," Scott said. "It's not only ugly, it is dangerous because people are trying to read the signs as they're driving and they're taking their attention off the road."

Since the economy tanked, Scott says code enforcement has loosened up on businesses, particularly along Cleveland Ave., but for the businesses downtown, standards are a little different.

Brantner has taken his signs down, and, after reading the code, found out he can paint 25% of his windows. So he has painted his windows advertising what his business has to offer.

Downtown businesses are allowed one A-frame sign, but it's best to check with code enforcement before putting up any banners or advertisements up. 


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