A statement of fact
Pho Keene Great is an idea that had been discussed for a couple of years. On April 2018, after lengthy negotiations with the City of Keene, a lease was signed after that name.
On December 21st, after months of the space being under construction and PKG paying rent, we placed a temporary sign with our name and logo and the words “coming soon”. On December 24th we were advised by the city that they had deemed our name to be offensive and asked us to remove our sign which we did in order to keep the peace.
Here are some facts:
· Our lease is and has been all along between Pho Keene Great, LLC and the City of Keene. There was never an alternative name mentioned by either party.
· Our lease does say that we need permits for signs that can be seen from the inside of the space but does not address temporary signs which as per ordinance can be placed without permits.
· We were never, until after paying rent for months and having spent tens of thousands of dollars in improvements, told that our name was considered offensive
· We were never told that the color on the temporary sign was an issue, but we read in the media that supposed we had been told.
· Our main sign that will be attached to the building had from the getgo been designed according to ordinance and the City of Keene did not even know what it was going to look like until January 11, 2019 when they received our permit application.
On January 18th, after a lengthy battle played out mostly in the media, which the city continued to contact way before we decided to break our silence, our sign permit application was accepted, demonstrating what we had always claimed: our name is not offensive, we were not in violation of the lease, the lease was under the name of Pho Keene Great
Throughout the whole process, we were amazed at the amount of love and support and by people’s passion for First Amendment Rights