Photo | Lagniappe
These campaign signs, illegally placed in the right of way, were recently removed from the corner of Stanton Road and Pleasant Avenue.
David Daughenbaugh, deputy director of municipal enforcement, doesn’t claim to be a soothsayer, but there’s one prediction he’s sure about: As political contests heat up, the number of illegally placed signs will increase.
Daughenbaugh said 150-200 temporary signs have been removed from rights of way so far this year. Roughly 40 percent are campaign signs.
“As we get closer to the date [of the primary], we’ll see more and more,” he said.
The city allows all temporary signs, including campaign signs, in rights of way between 4 p.m. Friday evening and 8 a.m. Monday morning. After that, Daughenbaugh said, his department begins to pick up the illegal signs placed in heavily trafficked areas. For other areas it comes down to available resources, Daughenbaugh said, adding that they tend to leave neighborhoods alone. The city will hear complaints from neighborhoods and try to educate homeowners who are placing signs illegally.
“Folks in the community put up signs on weekends,” he said. “They’ve become conditioned to pick them up on Sunday.”
Signs are not ever allowed in medians. In addition, signs larger than 2 feet by 2 feet, or higher than 4 feet off the ground are prohibited from rights of way at all times, Daughenbaugh said.
In most cases, municipal enforcement officers will pick signs up and recycle them, Daughenbaugh said. The city doesn’t enforce the sign ordinance on private property.
“The average person doesn’t know where the right of way is, or what the rules are,” he said. “There’s a lack of intent.”
For repeat offenders who own a business, city law allows for a $25 per sign fee.
In addition to prohibition based on size, signs placed on utility poles are not allowed at any time, he said.
“We’ve always enforced no signs on poles, or trees,” he said.
Inflatable outdoor advertising such as SkyDancers are also prohibited in the city’s rights of way, Daughenbaugh said. Flashing lights on signs in the rights of way are also not allowed.
Picking up signs is part of a municipal enforcement officer’s normal duties within the district he or she is assigned, Daughenbaugh said. For larger signs, or in areas where a lot of signs are placed illegally, an officer will call in support.
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