WESTPORT - In response to the economy, the town of Westport is loosening some zoning restrictions on local businesses.

The town will now allow businesses to resume the practice of placing free standing signs in front of their shops. Some business owners used sandwich boards to help bring new customers to their stores. Mansion Clam House co-owner Rigo Lino feels that not being allowed to put up a sign for years cost him money, but is happy about the town's decision.

"Wow, this is great," Lino said. "I mean it's one of the best things that I've heard."

Last week, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff suggested to the town's Planning and Zoning Board to ease restrictions to help business owners struggling because of the economy. He explained the reason the ban on signage was in place.

"It's just an attempt by Westport to not be so bold and brassy in the streetscape, if you will, to make it more suburban and pleasant to the eye," Joseloff said.

The planning board handed out fines to violators of the restriction, including Lino. He said that his business was fined $150.

Another local who is happy about the new decision was car wash owner Scott Tiefenthaler, who says that the signs help him save money from not having to pay for large advertising campaigns.

"It certainly helps to be able to advertise to passing traffic that perhaps you have a special and to catch people's attention," Tiefenthaler said.

Westport will suspend this restriction on sandwich board signs until the end of September.