22 Aug 2014
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Billy Corgan Gets Tea House Sign Approved

The Smashing Pumpkins' frontman put a 44-inch neon sign in front of his Highland Park tea house without permission from the city. The City Council okayed it on Monday.

Billy Corgan Gets Tea House Sign Approved Billy Corgan Gets Tea House Sign Approved Billy Corgan Gets Tea House Sign Approved

The City of Highland Park approved the neon sign in front of Billy Corgan's tea shop months after the shop opened.

Madame ZuZu's opened last September in Ravinia. Owned by the Smashing Pumpkins' frontman, the cafe soon began displaying a Corgan-designed, neon sign in the front window, which is prohibited by Highland Park city code, according to The Highland Park News. The sign is 44-inches tall.

Instead of asking for a presentation for the variance request, the Highland Park City Council unanimously approved it at Monday night's meeting, according to The Tribune. Moments later, Mayor Nancy Rotering thanked Corgan for opening the tea house in Highland Park.

In a letter to Patch, blogger Bob Levi wondered why the variance was approved so quickly. 

"Let's say that after I open [a hypothetical retail store] I install a four-foot by 13-foot neon sign that covers over 50 percent of the window rather than the regulated 10 percent," Levi said. "My guess is that I'd be given a certain number of days to take the sign down or be fined. I doubt if I'd get a hug by the mayor."

Levi wondered if Corgan's celebrity status got him unfair treatment.

"Shouldn't he be treated the same way as anyone?" Levi asked. "Maybe I'm naive, but it's another example of rules and laws not being applied equally."

City Councilwoman Sally Higginson told Patch there was no special treatment for Corgan.

"There was no discussion of 'He's Billy Corgan, let's do whatever he wants.'" Higginson said. She then added, with a laugh, "but we would have loved to have heard him sing at the council meeting... that would have been special."

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