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Kevin Niems, a 15-year Escondido resident and owner of three area Subway sandwich shops, appeared before the city council on June 8. He was there to voice his opposition to the city’s enforcement of the ban on vertical “feather flags” he has used outside his business.

Niems, who has been an Escondido business owner since 2000 and claims to employ 40 people, said the city’s decision has adversely affected his business.

“For the last one to two years, we have been using a feather flag at two of my locations, and I’ve never had issues with that,” said Niems. “I’ve seen increases in my business, even with the downturn in the economy. Unfortunately, code enforcement has been really cracking down on all signage — especially feather flags.”

Niems said sales from his Escondido stores have “steadily declined” since the recent enforcement: he estimated a loss of “$28,000 in revenue” since he was told to take down his feather flags three months ago.

“Although there is no specific language about feather flags, code enforcement has decided they are not allowed even if you have a permit,” he said, contending that his loss in revenue translates to a loss of tax earnings for the city. Niems said that his fourth Subway shop, located in San Diego, has not experienced a “negative impact” in sales because he has been allowed to use a feather flag at that location.

The business owner proposed that Escondido allow a permit for one feather banner per business, which would allow the city to generate more money from permit fees and continue to earn tax revenue.

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