Officials: Keep political signs off public property

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Political signs cropping up along roadsides and in yards are commonplace in the weeks leading up to an election.

But candidates need to make sure their signs are legally placed, according to the city’s Planning Office and the state Department of Transportation.

Signs are beginning to crop up on state-maintained rights-of-way, which is illegal, can distract drivers and restrict their sight, and can eventually become litter, said MDOT Executive Director Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown.

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&uot;In addition to the possibility of signs being distracting, they can also eventually fall down and become a mowing hazard for workers who maintain our highways,&uot; Brown said in a statement.

For those reasons, Brown said, MDOT work crews will remove all illegal signs.

The signs will be held for a reasonable amount of time before being disposed of, and candidates can retrieve their signs from the department’s maintenance shops without penalty, he said.

City Planner Bob Jackson said he has received few complaints or inquiries about campaign signs this year. When city workers see signs on rights-of-way, they simply move them off the right-of-way, he said.

&uot;We’re most concerned about the traffic issue &045;&045; making sure people can see around corners,&uot; Jackson said. &uot;Really, these signs only need to be on private property.&uot;

To head off problems, the Planning Department sent copies of the city’s political sign ordinance to each candidate early in the campaign season, Jackson said.

Another reminder for those with political signs on their property &045;&045; under city ordinances, such signs must be taken down no later than seven days after an election.

Municipal primaries will be held May 4, with the runoff election set for May 18 and the general election set for June 8.