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Huge portrait above lawyer’s downtown offices spurs review of legality

Posted May 9, 2014 7:48 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The downtown offices of Bangor, Maine, lawyer Stephen C. Smith are easy to spot.

Hanging above Smith’s offices is a large cutout of his likeness, BDN Maine reports. Also on display is his phone number: 1-888-8ATTACK.

The newspaper interviewed passers-by, who described the larger-than-life photo as “glowering,” “imposing,” “hilarious” and “amazing.”

City officials have received a few complaints and are reviewing the city code to determine whether the cutout violates restrictions on signs, the story says. Smith says he’s already reviewed the code, and he believes his sign is legal.

Smith says a code section on the size of window signs applies only to first-floor signs; his is on the second floor. Another code section on window signs in the city’s revitalization area restricts lettering size, but not the size of images, Smith tells BDN Maine. He did not, however, speak with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission before putting up the sign.

The owner of the building that houses Smith’s law offices, Paul Cook, told BDN Maine that Smith didn’t ask his permission to put up the sign. In Cook’s view, the sign “cheapened the appearance of downtown.” Cook added that Smith has been a good tenant, and he appreciates his efforts to revitalize the downtown area.

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