Cary Dairy, located at 395 Cary Algonquin Road, was issued thousands in fines and is being sued by the Village of Cary for alleged sign violations. | Photo: Google Street View (December 2021)

The Cary Dairy ice cream shop was fined over $5,000 and is being sued by the Village of Cary for allegedly violating an ordinance regulating signs.

The Village of Cary said in a statement that Cary Dairy, an ice cream shop located at 395 Cary Algonquin Road, installed a sign in late August 2021 that violated a village ordinance because it exceeds the permitted size by over 400%.

Title 14, Chapter 5 of the Village of Cary’s Code of Ordinances regulates signs.

The village alleges that Cary Dairy violated Section 14.5.7.1, which says “window signs may cover 20 percent of the window on which the sign shall be located.”

Following the installation of the sign, the village issued multiple notices in late 2021 and early 2022 to Cary Dairy that they were violating the ordinance and requested corrective action, the statement said.

In July 2022, the village issued its first citation to Cary Dairy.

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The shop owner did not appear for the village’s administrative hearing and was found liable for a $750 fine, the statement said.

A second citation was issued one month later, and the owner also did not appear at that hearing. They were found liable for an increased fine of $1,500.

In October 2022, the village cited Cary Dairy for a third time “in a final attempt to secure compliance.”

The owner did not appear at the hearing and was found liable for a $3,000 fine.

In all three citations, “the maximum fine would have been many thousands of dollars more for each day Cary Dairy was in violation,” the village said.

In March, the village filed a lawsuit in McHenry County Circuit Court against Crowley Family Farm LLC – which owns Cary Dairy – asking the court to order the business to comply and for the village to conduct inspections at the property for compliance.

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The village alleged in the civil complaint that the sign poses a “grave threat to the life and safety of the community” and “immediate action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community is protected to the greatest extent possible.”

“The Village of Cary continues to want our businesses to succeed and benefit the community as a whole, including the Cary Dairy. However, in fairness to other businesses who voluntarily comply with our regulations, the Village of Cary is taking this corrective measure with the desire of satisfactorily addressing the violation,” the village said.

Dozens of community members expressed resentment in the village’s Facebook post.

“What a complete waste of taxpayer money, embarrassing to say the least. How about dimming the blinding light shining so brightly on the new Cary sign along [Route] 14, distracting drivers,” a woman said.

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“That’s a pretty steep fine,” another woman said. “If the Village of Cary ‘truly’ wants any local business owners to succeed, lower the fine.”

“Voluntarily dismiss and move on. The people have spoken and you’ve lost in the court of public opinion. Don’t mess with our ice cream!” a man said.