It’s campaign season, which means political signs are sprouting in yards and other places all over the city.
The political yard sign ordinance seems pretty simple. The yard sign must be on private property, placed with the owners permission, and can’t be more than 6 square feet. It also can’t be lit, can’t be wind blown, portable, painted on a vehicle in view of the public right-of-way, or attached to trees or rocks. You can’t have two or more signs with the same message, and you can’t cause a sight obstruction by the sign placement.
But what isn’t simple is that signs cannot legally be placed in the public right-of-way and the right-of-way varies from street to street and from lot to lot. The only way to know for sure where the right-of-way is on a piece of property is to have a map that includes the right-of-way lines.
The area between a sidewalk and the street is definitely right-of-way and generally you can determine the right-of-way by utility poles. Between the utility pole and the street is right-of-way, and the other side is not. But if there aren’t utility poles your guess is actually as good as the sign enforcement folks, unless they have a map where the right-of-way is marked.
So all those signs you see on medians, in parks, traffic islands and on a corner as close to the curb as possible are illegally placed signs. What happens on many busy corners is that one sign gets put up, either with or without the property owner’s permission, and then the signs sprout up like weeds.
Some candidate always accuses their opponent of stealing their signs and sometimes it does happen. What happens far more frequently is that the person putting the signs out gets the address wrong, or ends up with a bunch of extra signs that they decide just to stick out somewhere. In some cases the city will actually have crews remove signs from where they think the right-of-way is.
The good news is that seven days after the election, which in this case would be March 10, all the signs are supposed to be removed and the bad news is that, according to GSOCollects, political yard signs are not recyclable.