City prepares to prosecute Cordish Co. over advertising banner

Zoning office says display is illegal without permit

April 28, 2004|By Scott Calvert | Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF

A top Baltimore zoning official said yesterday the city will seek fines of up to $500 a day against the Cordish Co. because the prominent developer has not taken down large banners advertising its new Inner Harbor parking garage.

"We're in the midst of preparing a case for prosecution," said Michael Savino, superintendent for zoning enforcement. The case would go before city housing court.

On April 15, Savino's office sent the Cordish Co. two violation notices about the banners, which advertise the company's Pier 5 garage and are prohibited by the city. Cordish has not formally responded to either violation notice.

Reed Cordish, a company vice president, said yesterday he doesn't think he should be prosecuted. He reiterated that the firm does not believe it needs permits for temporary signs.

Savino's office acted on a complaint about the Cordish garage that was brought by Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development arm. BDC has pointed to a recent garage on Lombard Street as a model of advertising restraint.

But yesterday that garage, operated by Arrow Parking, was sporting a large yellow banner advertising monthly parking. Savino said he was unaware of that banner but said it had no permit, either.

"It's not a good situation, and the way to deal with it is to treat all people equally and fairly," said Andrew Frank, BDC's executive vice president.

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