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Can you see the problem? Town of Tonawanda says sign helping neighboring business is illegal

Kevin's catering sign seen as illegal
Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 11, 2021

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Outside of Elmwood Collision on Elmwood Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda, a sign was hoping to bring a neighbor some customers.

"I wanted to help them out," Elmwood Collision President Michael Zwelling said, "It's the only reason why I put it up there."

Zwelling says he put the sign below for Kevin's Catering on his digital sign after they were struggling due to COVID-19.

Kevin's Catering
Kevin's Catering sign causing a stir in the Town of Tonawanda

"It helped his business tremendously," Zwelling said.

Despite that, on Tuesday, the Town of Tonawanda said the Kevin's Catering slide must come down after being up for more than four months.

According to the Town Building Department, this sign breaks a Zoning code that prohibits signs that advertise for a business not located on the premises where the sign is located. Posting to Facebook, Kevin's Catering owner Kevin Lester called the law a "joke". He went on to say that the support from businesses like Elmwood Collision is the major reason his doors are still open. As for Zwelling, he says this points to a larger issue that laws need to be re-examined in a pandemic.

"I think that the law needs to change, I don't think what I put on that sign is hurting anyone."

As far as he sees it, he isn't doing anything wrong. When asked if he will take the sign down, he gave a simple response.

"Not now, I'm not ready to do that yet," Zwelling said.

The Town of Tonawanda Building Department would not comment on this story, other than to say they are hoping the sign will be taken down before a fine needs to be given.