The city of Binghamton is poised to take legal action against a developer who installed a sign for a new restaurant before receiving official approval.

Mark Yonaty is preparing to open the business at the downtown Lackawanna Train Station on Lewis Street near the city-owned baseball stadium. The restaurant will be called Station 45 American Chop House.

Mark Yonaty inside the future Station 45 American Chop House on December 1, 2022. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Mark Yonaty inside the future Station 45 American Chop House on December 1, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Yonaty said he received a court notice regarding the sign on Thursday. The notice was issued by zoning officer Greg Buell of the city planning department. It indicated the Commission on Architecture and Urban Development was required to authorize the sign before it was put up.

Buell declined to comment on the issue Friday afternoon, referring the matter to Mayor Jared Kraham.

The Station 45 restaurant sign before it was installed. (Photo: Mark Yonaty)
A section of the Station 45 restaurant sign before it was installed. (Photo: Mark Yonaty)
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Yonaty criticized the city's action on a sign that was described as "very nice" and "lovely" by commission members during a November 1 meeting. They were concerned that a precedent would be set if they approved a backlit sign.

Yonaty told WNBF News: "It's ridiculous." He said he had waited several weeks to receive commission approval. He said he had to move forward with the sign installation before weather conditions worsened.

FLASHBACK: Renovation work for the new restaurant was underway on May 27, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
FLASHBACK: Renovation work for the new restaurant was underway on May 27, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Mayor Kraham, who is an ex-officio member of the commission, declined to comment specifically on the action taken by the city regarding the sign.

In an email, Kraham wrote: "I'm confident there's a path forward that works for the business and also allows for the review required — by law — for a local historic landmark property."

The interior of a restaurant being developed at the Lackawanna Train Station. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
The interior of a restaurant being developed at the Lackawanna Train Station on December 1, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Responding to inquiries about the sign dispute, the mayor also wrote that he believes the planned restaurant is "a really good project for Binghamton."

Kraham said "Station 45 will be a great addition to downtown Binghamton’s restaurant scene when it opens — both contributing to the city’s stadium district and as a creative adaptive use of a historic building."

A renovated area inside the historic downtown Binghamton train station. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
A renovated area inside the downtown Binghamton train station. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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WATCH: Video of what the place looked like six months ago...

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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