Time limit for election signs purged

COVINGTON - The county can no longer regulate the amount of time political campaign signs are displayed before and after an election.

In 2006, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1097, which states that "no municipal, county or consolidated government may restrict by regulation or other means the length of time a political campaign sign may be displayed or the number of signs which may be displayed on private property for which permission has been granted."

The county's ordinance requires that campaign signs cannot be placed earlier than 60 days before any election and must be removed 10 days after the scheduled election.

County commissioners passed an amendment at their May 6 meeting to bring the ordinance into compliance with state law.

The county will continue to regulate the size of campaign signs and distance from intersections and roadways.

Signs can't be placed within 100 feet of an intersection or closer than 10 feet to the pavement of a roadway. Signs can't be placed at all on public rights-of-way or on property without the owner's permission.

Signs can't be more than 5 feet in height or 16 square feet per side and must not have more than two sides.

They must be made of waterproof material and must be attached to an independent mounting device no more than 40 inches above ground level. The mounting device must be secure to prevent the sign from blowing away and must bear the name and phone number of the party responsible for the sign.

District 3 Commissioner Ester Fleming, who is not seeking re-election, said he hoped county code enforcement officers would not spend too much time measuring campaign signs.

"If a code enforcement officer has to measure to see if a sign is 10 feet from the road ... they don't have nothing to do," he said. "I hope that doesn't happen in this election cycle."

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.