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Campaign signs should follow city laws

As Election Day 2010 draws nearer, voters are more and more likely to see campaign commercials and campaign signs.

Early in the campaign season, many of these signs are in violation of the city campaign ordinances, usually by being placed in public rights-of-way or on utility poles.

Sections 902, 903 and 904 of the Demopolis City Code details regulations pertaining to all signs within the city limit.

According to Section 902.6, temporary non-illuminated political signs and campaign posters are allowed if:

they are not located in or extended over any public right-of-way,

they are not located, lighted or constructed to constitute a hazard to the health or safety of individuals on a public right-of-way,

they are not displayed, painted or attached to any vehicle or trailer parked on a public right-of-way or on private property for the primary purpose of advertising,

they are not attached to trees, utility poles or placed on any public right-of-way or public property, and

they are kept clean and clear of trash or litter.

Political signs must be no more than 8 square feet in area and must be removed within three days after the election.

Some candidates have been placing their signs in public rights-of-way or on light poles or posts. Those signs found in violation of the campaign sign code will be taken down by the city and they can be retrieved at the candidate’s expense.

Knowing what the public right-of-way is would help candidates and other people posting signs for yard sales or other functions.

“In most areas, where sidewalks run in front of residences — like Main or Commissioners — the sidewalk is the city’s property,” said city official Junior Brooker. “In essence, it should be set on the far side of the sidewalk, towards the home owners. If they are where the city cuts the right-of-way, we have the right to take them up.

“For the most part, about 9 feet from the curb is where the right-of-way extends. The right-of-way and the property line are usually one and the same.”

To make sure of where the public right-of-way is before posting a sign of any sort, call the Demopolis City Hall at 289-0577.