With a large number of candidates appealing to voters in the May primary, the lyrics from the 1970 hit by the Five Man Electrical Band could be applied to Richmond.
“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind ... .”
From constable to U.S. Senate, candidates want their names recognized.
If you have noticed plenty of political signs around Richmond but not in Berea or the county, there is a reason for that.
Richmond does not apply special restrictions to political signs, according to Joe Lillis, the city’s director codes enforcement. Campaign signs are being regulated no differently than any other sign, except that political signs must be taken down within three days of an election, he said.
No signs of any type are ever permitted on public rights of way, including along the city’s bypasses and down their medians, Lillis said, even if the property owner who donated the right of way agrees to it.
Lillis has drafted a proposed ordinance that is similar to those of Berea and the county, but it will not be considered by the city commission prior to the May 18 primary election.
Berea and the county do not allow the posting of temporary political signs more than 30 days prior to an election. Campaign signs must come down within five days after an election in Berea and within seven days in the county. Both jurisdictions also require candidates to obtain permits before they post campaign signs.
Both Berea and the county limit the size of campaign signs.
In the county, they are limited to 4 feet by 8 feet in size, with signs on residential property limited to 3 feet by 4 feet. No more than one sign per political candidate may be placed on a residential lot.
A fee of $10 per violation will be assessed to candidates who do not correct violations within five days of notification, but no fee will be assessed to the property owner. The fee is to defray the county’s cost of removing illegal signs, its ordinance states.
Berea limits the size of temporary political signs to 4 feet by 8 feet in all zones. The city imposes no fines for violation, but candidates will be charged for the city’s cost if candidates do not remove illegal signs.
Noting that four of the fiscal court’s five members are seeking re-election and that several other candidates were present, Duane Curry, codes enforcement administrator, distributed copies of the county’s sign ordinance at the March 16 fiscal court meeting.
Curry said the county had received a communication questioning whether its political sign regulation violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. County Attorney Marc Robbins said he had taken the matter under advisement, but no members of the court had proposed dropping or modifying the sign ordinance.
Berea City Administrator Randy Stone said he knew of no potential legal challenge to his city’s sign regulations. Some residents and candidates have inquired whether Berea’s ordinance applies to “political signs in trucks,” but the city council has not addressed the issue, Stone said.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6622.