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The practice of using inflatables to draw attention to a business or tradeshow booth is a tried and true method of marketing. Customized and branded inflatables are eye-catching representations of a business logo or mascot – they can bring a lot of foot traffic and visual appeal to a brick-and-mortar or temporary storefront. However, one business in the Medina Township area of Ohio is facing pushback from town authorities and some citizens.
We have covered this issue before – it has been going on since 2008 – and it seems that no headway has been made regarding the township’s statutes aimed at prohibiting inflatables. Although inflatables are allowed at private residences, businesses cannot use them as a means to draw attention. According to an article from cleveland.com, this hasn’t stopped some businesses:
“Bill Doraty, owner of Bill Doraty KIA, has been championing the cause since 2008. Nonetheless, Doraty and other local merchants have used the large balloons to draw attention to their businesses, drawing citations and criminal charges along the way.”
A number of court cases have been filed by Doraty and the manufacturer of the inflatables, the article says, but each ended with verdicts supporting the township. That is, until a separate case found in favor of the plaintiffs. It turns out that the township’s sign permits should be enough to approve inflatable usage at businesses:
“[The judge] ruled [that] the zoning department must issue permits for the display of inflatables, stating that inflatables are designed not to move and therefore are not restricted by the zoning code. At that time, Michael Todd, chairman of the board of trustees, said: ‘We respect the decision of the court and will abide accordingly. As long as temporary sign permits are issued, he can keep displaying the inflatables.’”
Currently lawmakers in Medina Township are working on a proposal to continue this practice or make inflatables allowable, but with restrictions. No word on a final decision has been released yet.