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City sets formal rules on political campaign signs
Political campaign signs will soon sprout up around town as the presidential election draws closer.
The city now has permanent regulations for where they can go. Tuesday, City Council voted to allow the signs on public rights-of-way.
The Public Works department used to have an informal policy dealing with campaign signs for many years. It asked the City Council to formalize it, said City Attorney Kathleen Dooley.
City Code prohibits signs from being placed in the public right of way (public streets, alleys, sidewalks, etc.) without written permission of the City Manager. The new ordinance allow signs to be placed there during the political season, defined as the 60 days prior to any federal, state, or local general, primary or special election or referendum and five days after.
Signs can be up to 32 square feet. They are not permitted on street medians, fences, walls, signs, signposts, poles, trees or other structures owned or maintained by the city, according to the proposed ordinance. The signs can’t affect traffic or public safety or interfere with the use of roads and can’t be a threat to public safety.
These regulations do not govern the placement of signs on private property.
Two members of the council were opposed to the regulations- George Solley and Kerry Devine.
Solley said he doesn’t like campaign signs in the right of way , but recognizes that it is an almost insurmountable problem. He says it is better controlled than having to chase everybody down who puts up a sign.
Devine agreed with Solley, but expressed concern over the regulations being untested during a national election.
Councilman Matt Kelly pointed out that if the signs are not allowed in public right of way, then signs would not be allowed at three of the city’s polling places.
The ordinance will come up for a second vote at the council’s Sept. 11 meeting.