Albany's sign ordinance enforced during campaign season - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany's sign ordinance enforced during campaign season

June 26, 2006

Albany--We'll go to the polls three weeks from tomorrow for the July primary elections. That means campaign signs are popping up everywhere. If you live in Albany, you need to know the city's sign ordinance.

If you're not careful, supporting your favorite candidate could violate the law.

The campaign signs are out in full force, and so are code enforcement officers, like Robert Carter.

"I've probably picked up sixty signs this political season," says Carter.  So far,  he's removed signs in violation of the city's ordinance from numerous locations.

"They're pretty much all over town. I've picked up a lot out at Gillionville Road area, Dawson Road area,"  he says.

Under the city's ordinance a home owner can't have more than one political sign on their property. But there is one exception.

"They can have ten signs, if it's one sign for each candidate," says Carter.

And under the law, the signs can't be too close the road. "It needs to be back up into the yard," says Carter.

We found several candidates running for office whose signs violated the law. We tracked down one of them, Jack Stone, a school board candidate for district four.

"We're all human, though, some of us do make mistakes. Of course, if there are any problems, I'd like for code enforcement to call me and let me know what to do to resolve the problem," says Stone.

Stone says he's well aware of the city's sign ordinance. "We try to make sure we go by the codes, of course. I've got an 8 year-old and a 17-year-old. They do the best they can to get the signs in; but if I think they put them in the wrong spot I try to move them," says Stone.

Not all signs placed improperly are the candidates fault.

"Most of the time, they're placed out by supporters who are meaning well, but they're not aware of where they can place them and not," says Carter.

But ultimately, Carter says it's the candidates' responsibility to make sure their signs are properly displayed. Otherwise, fines could follow. Knowing that, Stone says he now plans to be more cautious.

"Yes, I definitely will," says Stone.

And he will continue putting up his many signs, in hopes of a successful campaign. 

It is also illegal to place signs on the right-of-way or on any trees. Sixty days before an election, the city mails all registered candidates a copy of its sign ordinance. If the city confiscates signs in violation candidates can get them back.

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