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Thread: "Work from home" and related signs in the ROW

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    "Work from home" and related signs in the ROW

    One thing I've noticed about Florida -- I've never seen so many signs in the public right-of-way as I have in the Orlando area. "Work From Home," "Lose 20 Pounds in 10 Days," that sort of thing -- on telephone poles, in median strips, everywhere.

    The small town where I work as a planner has a "zero tolerance" policy for signage in the public right-of-way. The streets there were wonderfully devoid of signage, save the occaonal FSBO sign, until last weekend, when a bunch of "Erase Bad Credit" and "Lose Weight Fast" signs popped up. I've got most of 'em down, but some are up quite high -- we might have to get the bucket truck out to take care of 'em. I want to get them down fast, because such signs seem to breed like rabbits.

    I'm wondering if anyone has had any success tracking down the folks responsible for posting these signs, or if anyone actually caught someone in the act of placing such a sign in the ROW.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Dan,

    Good luck. The 800 numbers go to some telemarketing farm. If they are dot.com's, I understand that you can try to track them down through

    register.com
    opensrs.com
    networksolutions.com

    I have never tried these, just got them from another bulletin board. We just take them down as soon as we find them, with notices in the newspaper and PA announcements. After several years, their use is slowing down.

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Dan

    Thanks for getting back to me. Sign code enforcement was a big part of my job at the start of my planning career, but I never experienced the deluge of signs advertising questionalble enterprises.

    A while ago, the police were asked to look for people who might be nailng up signs. They never caught anyone. I've been dong reverse number lookups to nab locals, and Network Solutions for those with a URL. Still, there's quite a few with 800 or 888 nubers, and it's obvious that there's a maze of voice mail waiting if I called.

    I'm wondering who is putting the signs up. Local sign companies? Illegal aliens? Teenagers? If I were a local business, who would I call to slap up a few hundred signs around town? The signs are also up *way high*, so there's some special sign posting tool that they must use to get them beyond simple tearin' down reach. Anyone have insight into the secret snipe sign posting ring?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Aliens, teenagers, a cottage industry...but not the local sign companies. Try to get the citizens to be your watch dogs. Write a letter to the editor, mention it at your civic club lunches, and ask the legit sign companies. Someone will rat on the miscreants doing this to their otherwise pristine community.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Our ordinance prohibits such signs in the ROW. Normally we tear 'em down & junk 'em. One particularly bad fellow we took to court. And won.

  6. #6
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    Bob, what state are you in? In Virginia, the ROWs are the jurisdiction of the state transportation department. Although our zoning enforcement staff has been "deputized" by the Highway Commissioner, it is only to remove them. There is a new state code provision which allows the Commissioner to enter into an agreement with a locality to not only remove such signs but to also enforce the state code prohibiting them (i.e., issue summons, $100 per offense fine). Only one county has actually taken VDOT up on this and we're waiting to see how they do. So far, none of their summonses have gone to court. Our Sign Task Force is considering making the recommendation that our Board adopt such an agreement.

    What did you take your violator to court on?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    It's only gonna get worse out there. With the subdivisions marching your way from Clermont and Tildenville, you'll be getting the weekend model home signs. Guys in pickups plaster the roads with directional signs to new subdivisions, always after 5 on Friday when the Code Inspectors are off duty. Then they drive around Sunday night and pick them up. Some intersections have dozens.

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    We have a "gentlemen's agreement" with the realtors and builders right now. Real estate signs are technically prohibited in the ROW, but we don't enforce that provision on weekends for signs identifying property in the town only, if they are displayed in moderation. (It's still a small town, and it's hard enforcing the code against Bubba, who might put up a FSBO open house sign for a day -- gotta' be fair, and not "pick on the big guys")

    This Monday, I pulled up 42 signs -- usually, they're all gone by then. We were carpet-bombed -- two and three identical signs side-by-side, signs for subdivisions miles away in Clermont, and signs for apartment complexes in the mix.

    I filled the trunk and back seat of my car (and subsequently made a healthy stack at the town yard), and sent off a nastygram to the Governmental Affairs office of the local HBA, with the support of the Town Manager and politicae -- the equivalent of "Bomb us again, and we start code enforcement on weekends ... and by the way, the Parade of Homes is starting in a couple of weeks, and several show homes are in our town."

    The HBA seems supportive of my group sign proposal -- five or six permanent signs, with the town logo, "NEW HOME TRAIL" and individual panels with arrows pointing to new subdivisions. They'll put up the signs, and stop putting up bandit signs in the ROW. I'll tell you how it works.

    Fortunately, the town has been free of weight loss, cheap mortgage and other scam signs for two weeks. I did pull up a few religious signs this week, though.

    You know, I seldom saw the use of bandit signs in Colorado. I wonder why they're so popular in Florida. I'm thinking it's the traditionally draconian code enforcement in the Denver area, versus the lax attitude of CEs regarding signage in the Orlando area -- I dunno.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I think it's just the area. I grew up in Orlando, and I can't remember a time when snipe signs weren't EVERYWHERE. The only other town in the area that is aggressive about the signs seems to be Lake Mary, north of Orlando; the police pull those up on weekends.

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