Mr. Lattin, tear down your sign, says city

It may look like an abandoned lot, but the former location of Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters is an integral part of Whitehorse Pepsi history, says Whitehorse entrepreneur Con Lattin.

It may look like an abandoned lot, but the former location of Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters is an integral part of Whitehorse Pepsi history, says Whitehorse entrepreneur Con Lattin.

And that’s why the sign’s there—a simple two-meter high placard with the Pepsi, Gatorade and Aquafina logos.

Lattin’s sign is an “illegal billboard,” say city officials, who ordered him to take it down on March 9th.

Signs have to be related to the principal use of a property, said land development supervisor Pat Ross.

And an empty snow-covered lot has very little to do with a bottle of Pepsi.

“In this case you’ve got a sign sitting there on a lot that has no principal use established,” he said.

If Lattin formally established a Pepsi-related principal use for the property, the sign could stay, said Ross.

Principal use or no principal use, the spirit of Pepsi dwells deep within the soil at 4168 Fourth Avenue, said Lattin.

“That place has been used to promote, sell and manufacture Pepsi since 1941,” he said.

That’s where local Pepsi was originally bottled.

And even when Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters was open, Lattin had Pepsi fridges and equipment stashed in the basement.

Come summer, Lattin hopes to install a food vendor onsite, who may very well offer Pepsico beverages.

When the sign first went up, alongside the moniker “celebrating 50 years supporting Yukoners,” city officials initially decided to leave it be.

“With that kind of text on there, it may have potentially had the ability to fit into some other category, other than a commercial sign,” said Ross.

“On his behalf, we started looking to see if there was some sort of loophole we could slot him in to,” he said.

When the sign morphed into a stack of logos, all bets were off.

The city has had it out for the sign for years, said Lattin.

In the days of Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, the sign was condemned for a being a third party sign on someone else’s property—an accusation that didn’t hold water since Lattin owned the property.

“Then they said it was a highway sign,” said Lattin.

“Maybe I’m just paranoid … but I think they’re just trying to find ways to interpret the law to make me move the sign,” he said.

If the sign doesn’t come down, the city may seek a court order for the immediate removal of the sign. Lattin could face fines of up to $10,000, and further fines of up to $2,500 for each day that the sign is left up.

“Somebody just got a bug in their bonnet,” said Lattin.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com

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