By MELINDA OVERSTREET
Glasgow Daily Times
The number of candidate signs has begun to increase in advance of the 2014 primary election, but whether they are placed by candidates or by supporters, rules must be followed in most areas due to safety and other concerns.
The signs can distract or limit visibility for drivers, and they can hinder mowing or other maintenance efforts.
Robert Smith, Cave City’s code enforcement officer, said he’s already removed about 20 campaign signs, as well as about 15 off-premise advertising signs, because they violate city ordinance.
“We already had several people talking about how bad the intersections were getting,” Smith said. “Ultimately, we have two major intersections that just get completely swamped.”
He was referring to the most popular spots for campaign signs – where Ky. 70 and Ky. 90 cross U.S. 31-W. The advertising signs accumulate most at the corner by Cracker Barrel, he said, but he had gotten complaints from members of Cave City Baptist Church about advertising signs at the 70/31-W intersection as well.
Exemptions exist for real estate sale signs, but no other signs should be in a right of way, he said.
Cave City has specific size limitations for the political signage, depending on whether it’s in a residential or other area. It is not allowed to be erected more than 60 days before an election and must be removed within five days afterward. So, beginning soon after the May 20 primary, the signs should go away for about two months before the November general election.
Glasgow’s sign ordinance is a bit more general. It, too, prohibits the placing of signs in rights of way or in any fashion or location that would obstruct the flow or view of traffic. The prohibition includes placement on utility poles, trees or posts along and adjacent to city streets and alleys.
The dimensions allowed are larger than Cave City’s.
Barren County’s signage ordinance only addresses “permanent advertising signs” and billboards, so it has no rules pertaining to temporary signs for elections.
The Kentucky Department of Highways, however, does plan to enforce regulations pertaining to signage along rights of way on state and U.S. roadways.
The DOH office in Elizabethtown for District 4, which includes Hart County, sent out a notice last month regarding placement of signage, and Wes Watt, public information officer in the Bowling Green office, said the policy is the same for the counties in District 3. Those include Allen, Edmonson, Barren, Metcalfe and Monroe.
State highway crews have authority and will remove nonpermitted signs along state-maintained right-of-way areas,” the notice said.
No yard sale, auction, business or any other sign is allowed on these areas; they must be placed beyond right-of-way limits.
“It is also illegal to attach items such as flyers, posters, balloons or streamers to stop signs, highway markers or any other road sign,” the press release said. “Illegally placed materials along roads can create hazards by blocking sight distance or distracting drivers, particularly at intersections.”
Removed items are to be taken to the Kentucky highway department maintenance facility in the county in which they are found. They may be claimed within 30 days, and any unclaimed materials will be trashed or recycled.
Cave City’s ordinance is similar in that respect. Signs found in violation and removed are available for collection at the city’s public works building between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In Glasgow, the signs are taken to the landfill and are kept there for 14 days, after which they are disposed of at the landfill.