EAST BERLIN, ADAMS COUNTY—Bernard Tucker is proud of the enormous sign attached to his business. It's as big as a two-car garage door. The massive sign on the side of Tucker Industrial Liquid Coatings shows an American soldier standing next to a military vehicle. In the upper left corner it reads, "Proud to support those who defend our freedom."
"I got to pick the banner that I wanted, and I wrote the comments on it," Tucker says.
The sign was a reward for Tucker's company's work on military vehicles for weapons maker BAE Systems, but last month East Berlin's zoning officer sent Tucker a letter saying the sign has to come down.
"The sign violated a couple of sections of the zoning ordinance," East Berlin zoning officer Robert Thaeler says. "One specifically with regard to the maximum permitted sign area."
Thaeler says the sign is three-and-a-half times bigger than the ordinance allows. The letter he sent to Tucker gave him 30 days to comply or appeal. Tucker is not giving up without a fight.
"I will not take the sign down," he says, vowing to appeal. "They'll have to take me away in handcuffs."
Tucker says he got permission from the mayor of East Berlin before he put the sign up last August.
"I said 'absolutely'," Mayor Keith Hoffman says. "There was no hesitance there at all."
In a town with its own military jet and tank, both parked next to the V.F.W. post, Hoffman thought Tucker's sign would be a good patriotic symbol, not a problem.
"We've got a lot of men and women serving overseas," Hoffman says. "Everybody that passes by is happy to see that we're a supporting town."
The sign's future will be the subject of a zoning hearing board meeting sometime in the next two months. Tucker says supporters of the sign, especially veterans, will be there in force.