Lee Co. cracks down on signs in right of way - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. cracks down on signs in right of way

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  It's campaign season and that means political candidates are putting signs out all over the place.

Unfortunately, sometimes in the wrong place. Lee County Code enforcement officers were busy Thursday relocating many of those signs. They found dozens that did not comply with the sign ordinance. The county is also working on a new ordinance, though critics say they shouldn't add new laws if they're not enforcing the current codes.

It wasn't just campaign signs it was any kind of sign in the county's right of way. Code enforcement is methodically working their way through the county and already some residents say they've seen a difference.

Tim Nelson knows where his property line ends and the county's right of way begins. From the number of illegal campaign signs it's obvious not everyone does.

"I knew that most of them in the right of way were illegal, up front I didn't know what the right of way was on each road," said Tim Nelson, a Lee County resident.

He's asked the county for a list and was glad code enforcement has been working the road's edge, enforcing the county's ordinance.

"If you have an 80 foot right of way, 40 feet on either side of the center line is the county's right of way," said Jim Wright, Lee County Code Enforcement.

Code enforcement's not just pulling up campaign signs. They're targeting any sign on county property, but sign owners shouldn't worry. For the next month they can get their signs back.

"All the political signs removed today will be taken to public works and will be placed out there, it's a safe place and the candidate can contact public works and come back out and pick their signs up," said Wright.

As the county works with local businesses on a new sign ordinance that's more like Albany's, Tim Nelson worries they shouldn't move on if they're not enforcing what's already in place and he's got a few ideas of his own.

"I'm actually going to put together a sign ordinance that I feel would better suit the county to present to the board," said Nelson.

Code enforcement says right now it's simply a matter of safety and the signs at their intersections are a nuisance and a distraction for motorists.

While campaign signs picked up will be dumped at public works all other signs will be put behind the Administration Building on Starksville Avenue.

Code enforcement will make those available for the next 30 days. Lee County's new sign ordinance could prohibit roof signs, rotating signs, and it will regulate digital signs.

Lee County Commissioners have said they're still working on the ordinance and won't be voting on it for some time.

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