HICKSVILLE, Long Island - Drive down Broadway in Hicksville and you'll see them everywhere you look: Signs on walls. Signs on sidewalks. Signs on windows.
Some merchants have turned their entire storefronts into billboards. Shopkeepers call it advertising. Others call it sign pollution.
"Sign pollution is a quality of life issue," Oyster Bay Town Council member Lou Imbroto said.
Ordinances in the township of Oyster Bay, which includes Hicksville, put strict limits on signage. No more than two signs are permitted for each storefront. And beginning on Broadway in Hicksville, then expanding across the town, code enforcement officers are placing merchants on notice. Those who do not cut back their signage risk a summons and a court date.
The crackdown comes as a shock to travel agent Deepak Bansal.
"If they complain, we will take the signs down," Bansal said. "But nobody ever complained, and many of the merchants have been here with their signs for 25 years."
Newly-elected town supervisor Joe Saladino ordered the crackdown after years of lax enforcement.
"We are responding to the needs of our residents," Saladino said. "We will work with the residents and the business community to ensure that we maintain our suburban quality of life."
Many residents say the merchants have gone too far.
"If you're driving around and you see signs all over the place, it could be a distraction," resident Selina Clarke said. "Yeah, I think maybe cutting down on it is a good thing."
Other residents aren't so sure.
"Give me a break," Lillian Sokol said. "I think they have better things to worry about before they worry about sign pollution."
The town is working with the local Chamber of Commerce to help spread the word. Businesses have until March before inspectors start writing violations.