POMEROY — While the November election is more than three months away, political signs are springing up across the county — many in illegal places.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has a “Mind your Signs” program in place as a way of keeping them off the highway right-of-ways, and both Middleport and Pomeroy have ordinances that specify where political signs can be placed and where they can’t, and give the timing as to when they can go up and when they must come down.
According to Ohio law, highway right-of-ways are to be used exclusively for public highway purposes. Political signs do not met that legal criteria. Only uniform marking guides and warning signs are permitted on the state’s highway right-of-way. The Ohio Revised Code says that “no individual, firm or corporation shall place or maintain any post, sign, or obstruction within the bounds of any road or highway without first obtaining the consent and approval of the director.”
Now for signs that go up without approval, Brenna Slavens, public information officer for ODOT District 10 advised earlier this year that ODOT highway crews will remove illegally placed signs and take them to the county garage. Owners have a 30-day period in which to retrieve them. After that they are disposed of.
As for both Pomeroy and Middleport, ordinances spell out the when and where of putting up political signs, as well as the time structure after the election for taking them down.
According to Pomeroy Village Council’s amendment to Zoning Ordinance 593 which was passed on July 21, 2008, political signs shall be erected not sooner than 30 days prior to the date of the election for which the office is to be filled or the issue decided, and shall not be greater than 12 square feet in sign area, nor located closer than 10 feet to any public right-of-way.
It also states that political signs shall not be erected on village property, including parks, parking lot, amphitheater, village hall nor along East Main Street adjacent to the walking path.
As for removal of signs, the ordinance states that all political signs shall be removed within seven days after the day of election.
Middleport Village Council has no requirement as to the time before an election when political signs can go up in residential areas.
The original ordinance passed by Council in 1965 which included a 30-day time frame before an election for putting up political signs, was eliminated by an amendment in 2006.
The ordinance does require that political advertising signs be not in excess of 12 square feet, and that they must be removed within a 10 day period following the election.
The amended ordinance states that Village Council found it in the best interest of the village to make the amendment.