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Paul prevails in battle with S'side City Hall

It took eight months of disagreement and the threat of a lawsuit against the City of Sunnyside, but Prosser contractor Tom Paul has prevailed.

Paul, who owns a stretch of property on South First Street, has been at odds with Sunnyside City Hall since the city council overturned the Board of Adjustment, which gave permission to replace an advertising billboard on Paul's property last November.

Paul said he will finally get to put up his billboard as part of an out-of-court settlement agreement his attorney has reached with the City of Sunnyside.

Even though city attorney Mark Kunkler is still waiting to hear officially from Paul's attorney, he said he is hopeful an agreement has been reached.

For his part, Paul, who had erected 10 signs criticizing City Hall on his South First Street property, has agreed to take down the signs and will remove a series of sheds he built in protest over the city's denial of his permit requests.

Paul, who has operated a greenhouse on the property, located across from the Sunnyside Bi-Mart store for nearly 14 years, said he will also be issued a city business permit, as a part of the settlement.

In addition, he said he will be allowed to keep his "Paul's Construction" sign up on his property.

"I've agreed to take down my freedom of speech signs," said Paul. But not before making his point that the city staff acted illegally, he added.

Paul in November was approved for a conditional use permit by the city's Board of Adjustment, which was later overturned by the city council at the request of city staff.

Paul said city staff turned down his permit request because of their plans to update a sign ordinance and future plans for widening of South First Street.

"I never asked to put the sign in the middle of the new street plan," Paul said.

He said he didn't feel city staff can decide to deny a permit based on actions it plans to take in the future.

According to the settlement agreement, Paul said he has 30 days to take down the sheds on his property and must take down his signs five days after the official signing of the settlement.

Paul's agreement to remove the signs and sheds will also result in the city dismissing any fines it has issued against him, as a result of the city's disagreement over construction permits, he added.

"It cost me some money to prove my point," said Paul.

"But I stuck to my guns." he added.

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