City of Cedar Park Files Suit against

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25 Year Old Sign Causes a Courtroom Battle

... their intention was to cause as much grief and do as much financial damage to the business as possible.

According the court documents, the 20-year-old sign is currently being used by Although Discount Electronics did not allegedly build the sign, it is now being sued for allegedly refusing to tear it down.

“The pole sign was there when I purchased the building,” said Rick Culleton, CEO of Discount Electronics. “It is our only street sign. The City claims that the previous owner abandoned the sign and left it unused for 90 days. Because of this, the City is demanding that tear down the sign and replace it with a significantly smaller, and arguably ineffective, sign.”

The City of Cedar Park has an ordinance that reads:

A nonconforming sign shall be removed immediately if any of the following applies:
(1) A nonconforming sign has been abandoned.
(2) A nonconforming sign and/or its defined use has been discontinued for a period of ninety (90) days

According to court documents, although Culleton disputes that his sign needs to be torn down, he gave into the City’s threats late last year and agreed to tear down the sign at his own expense and build a smaller sign. Discount Electronics hired a reputable sign company and began the process. The new sign was then approved by Mark Lewis, the Director of Building Inspection for the City of Cedar Park, on November 4, 2013. A formal application was submitted on November 11th and subsequently approved.

According to court documents, while Discount Electronics had a valid permit for the new sign in hand—and communicated to the City its plans to remove the old sign by February 2014—the City began filing citation after citation against Discount Electronics and CEO Rick Culleton for its allegedly non-conforming sign. Even while they were waiting for their court date for the first lawsuit, additional citations continued to arrive.

“It was like nothing I had ever seen,” said CEO Rick Culleton.

Culleton was confused as to why the City was citing him for sign violations while he was actively trying to comply with their requests. In order to focus on the citations and pending lawsuits, Culleton suspended plans to build the previously approved sign.

According to court documents, Culleton has tried to resolve the dispute outside of Court, and has agreed, once again, to tear his old sign down—even though he still disputes the violations—and build the sign previously approved by the City. The City of Cedar Park is now claiming that the new sign was approved in error, and, since the sign permit expired in the middle of this dispute, they are refusing to renew it. The permit was for a twenty-four square foot sign. The City will now only approve a 12-14 square foot sign.

“The size requirements are beyond ridiculous,” said CEO Rick Culleton. “They want us to have a street sign that is 12-14 square feet. The ceiling tile in your office is 8 square feet. A 12-14 square foot sign on a busy street is worthless.”

According to court documents, Discount Electronics relies on its sign to attract customers. Its current sign is 35 square feet, and is already hard to see. Culleton fears that a 12-14 square foot sign will be completely ineffective and hurt his business.

Trial regarding the alleged violations is currently set for September 26th. State of Texas VS Richard Culleton, Cause Numbers 201403637, 201403638, 201404153, 201404154, 201404831, 201404832 & 201405302. Municipal Court City of Cedar Park, Williamson County Texas.

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Rick Culleton
Discount Electronics
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