Illinois (KSDK) - Hundreds of businesses in the Metro East are finding a surprise in the mail.
A seemingly-forgotten 40-year old law is now being enforced again by the Illinois Department of Transportation. And that means business owners have to pay up for the right to display their signs.
The Highway Advertising Control Act of 1971 requires signs within 600 feet of a highway to be registered with the state.
Kent Newbold has been selling cars along I-64 since 1998. He says this is the first he's heard of the law.
"There's a lot of planning, zoning, permits and permissions you need to get to do all this and I was surprised that if it was necessary it wasn't covered during that process," said Newbold.
And he's not alone. Cathy Portell, owner of Spectra Graphics in O'Fallon, says her sign has been up for five years with no word of a registration requirement until last month.
The charges range from $50 to $200 depending on the size of the sign.
Newbold says he doesn't have a problem with the cost, just the way the state is enforcing the law.
"It is an inconvenience," he said. "It's confusing. The instructions sent out are not very clear and it seems to be just another little burden on the business man. A law's a law, but I don't understand why we have to go through all of this just to send another hundred dollars to the state of Illinois.
NewsChannel 5 reached out to IDOT in Springfield to ask why the law is suddenly being enforced again - but we never got a call back.