Small business owners in Verdun are asking questions after 160 letters were sent out warning of an infraction for the size of their signs.

Verdun dojo owner Eugene Shewchuk has owned Club Kozak on Wellington St. for 15 years and said he was annoyed he received a letter from the borough telling him the signs on the front of his martial arts business contravene a bylaw.

“I was shocked and not too happy,” he said. “It basically says that I've surpassed the 30 per cent authorized logos and lettering… per window.”

When Shewchuk tried to get answers from the borough, he said he got nowhere fast.

“They're looking at each other and then one of them says, ‘Well, we don't really need a reason for a bylaw to be made.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, where are we living in?’”

Verdun city councillor Sterling Downey also has questions.

“Why all of a sudden is this being systematically applied?” he asked. “These people have contributed to the local economy for over ten years in most cases, if not more. They've helped build this street or sustain this street and provide services for our residents and they should be treated with respect.”

Depanneur owner Jason Sun received a notice, but said he agreed with the bylaw.

“I fully understand why they have this law to make the street look nicer because they don't like everything looking covered,” he said.

Downey wonders why the borough didn't take a softer approach working with the business association to inform store owners, and also wonders whether the bylaw should be reviewed.

“You can see right through the window and you can see into the business, so again, 30 per cent. I'm still trying to figure out how we calculate it,” he said.

Contacted by CTV Montreal, the borough would only say that Shewchuk is being given more time to make his signs conform.

Shewchuk said he isn't willing to give in yet.

“Law is law, but also you want to know why. I mean we're still a democratic state here,” he said.