By Tom Tolen /

A Milford businesswoman is fighting Milford Village officials over actions it has taken in regard to her North Main St. skateboarding and paddle boarding business.

The problems started in October when Jodie Courtney and silent partner George Steiner, who own “Saturdays", installed an orange, inflatable tube man or “air dancer” in front of their store. They had been open since February with no prior problems.

The village enforcement officer soon paid a visit and ordered her to remove it. Milford’s code of ordinances restricts temporary sidewalk displays to “A" or “T" frame signs, which may also include chalkboards. The ordinance also prohibits sidewalk signs with moving parts, and those that are “illuminated, animated, or electrically powered.”

Courtney refused to take the tube man — which she has nicknamed “Mr. Orangey” down. But as a result the fines keep escalating, and the original $50 fine is now up to $500. Courtney says she has not paid it because she’s awaiting the outcome of the court case. She says it’s a matter of semantics, and tells WHMI, in her words, “I feel (Mr. Orangey) may not even be a sign.” Courtney strongly believes that the Code of Ordinances is in need of a review and updating.

According to Courtney, ”There’s been a lot of support in the community” for her, and her business has actually increased due to the sign and the publicity over her dispute with the village. She says the sign is very popular, and sometimes people want to take pictures of themselves with Mr. Orangey. Courtney says she previously owned Proving Grounds Coffee & Ice Cream in Milford, and has never had any problems with the village until now.

Village Manager Christian Wuerth says city officials do not discuss pending court cases. However, he told WHMI "As a general rule with property related violations, our Code Enforcement operations first seek compliance through education which often resolves issues with no enforcement actions being taken. This usually involves providing a copy of the specific ordinance and an explanation as to how the situation can be resolved with no tickets being issued. Only after this is a ticket issued. First violation is $50, second is $250, third is $500 or a court appearance ticket. Period of time between violations can range from a day (for health/safety related violations) to a week or more".

The next proceeding in the court case will be Tuesday, Dec. 6th, before 52-1 District Court Judge Robert Bondy in Novi.