Mia’s sign debate may be headed for court
DAYTON – The owners of Mia’s Swiss Restaurant in old town Dayton could face prosecution for painting over the Odeon Hall and Saloon sign on their building without prior approval from the Comstock Historic District Commission.
The commission has debated and delayed any action against Max and Mia Kuerzi since they painted the entire south wall of the Pike Street building in early July to spruce it up for Dayton’s sesquicentennial celebration.
Max Kuerzi has resisted all pleas from the commission to repaint the Odeon Hall sign. Months ago, Kuerzi proposed painting an Odd Fellow’s sign, a 19th century tenant of the building for Odeon. He, however, has painted no sign.
The commission on Monday decided to red-tag Mia’s, which in this case will likely lead to the commission asking the Attorney General’s office to prosecute the Kuerzis.
Any action against the Kuerzis would be stopped if they repaint the Odeon Hall sign, Commissioner Ron James said.
Mia’s Swiss Restaurant falls within the Comstock Historic District, where special rules apply to buildings to maintain a historic quality. Visual changes made to historic buildings, including adding or taking away signs, must be approved by the nine-member commission.
Along with the heavy-handed action against Mia’s, the commission also disapproved of signs at Compadres Restaurant and the Old Corner Bar. These businesses will be notified of their sign violations and further action will be determined depending on how they respond, James said.
The commission used the Mia’s matter to check all signs in the historic district to determine who got commission approval to put up signs.
Signs at seven businesses were discussed. Signs at the Wild Horse Saloon and Blister Sisters were approved because they met the district’s design standards.
Signs at the Union Hotel and Bloomer’s were deemed to be not in violation. Bloomer’s was apparently approved four years ago but the historic district has no documentation on file. The Union Hotel put up a replica of a historic sign, which does not require commission approval.
Against Mia’s, however, the commission ran out of patience. The commission in December already wanted to take action against the Kuerzis but Max Kuerzi asked for another month to give him time to present new information.
The Kuerzis did not attend the Monday meeting. Mia’s Swiss Restaurant is closed for the holidays until Jan. 21. James stressed the red-tag action in no way limits the Kuerzis from operating the restaurant.
Commissioner Bob Milz made the motion to red-tag the Kuerzis.
“Under the circumstances, we had a motion three meetings ago to red tag if we don’t come to a satisfactory conclusion,” Milz said. “We’ve done all we can do. This is not an easy thing for me to do. I’m a friend of Max’s.”