July 16, 2014 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
Whether for or against a certain candidate or proposal, all village and township residents have the right to place election signs on privately owned and public property if a few basic requirements are followed.
"Most folks do it right, we don't have a lot of problems," Police Chief Jerry Narsh said. "Actual violations, the village has been pretty clean with that for the last several years."
Where to put them?
In the township, signs may be placed on public property and private property as long as they are 10 feet off the right-of-way, according to Township Ordinance 138 section 7 Non-Commercial
"If the right-of-way isn't clearly established, it's 10 feet off the shoulder of the road," Randy McClure said, Building Official. "When you're in a neighborhood the right-of-way is usually not clearly established because lawns typically go right to the street, so that's where the 10 feet off the shoulder of the road comes in."
McClure explained that a public right-of-way is the total land dedicated to the county a road is built on, normally wider than the road incase improvements must be made.
No signs are permitted within a side yard setback of any district, and must not obstruct drivers' views.
McClure or his designee may permit a sign within 10 feet of the public-right-of way only if there is less than 10 feet of space between the public street or road and a private building, if the sign does not obstruct drivers' views or traffic control devices, and if it is placed as far as possible from the traveled portion of the road.
Sidewalks are typically built on the edge of the right-of-way, so election signs should be placed on the other side of the path furthest from the road.
The village has similar requirements—no sign shall be placed closer than 10 feet to the right-of-way of any street—and adds another rule. Signs are not allowed to extend in height more than five feet above the average grade of the front lot line, according to chapter 155 Sign Regulations under Title XV Land Usage of the village code of ordinances.
For both the village and the township permission must be obtained from private property owners. This includes residential property and business sites.
But how big can they be?
Election signs cannot exceed a surface area of 24 sq. ft. on residential property in the township, regardless of the amount of signs, and no sign can be larger than six sq. ft. For example four 3x2 ft. signs are allowed.
The same rule applies for commercial property: the overall limit is 64 sq. ft. and one sign cannot be larger than 16 sq. ft. (a 4x4 ft. sign). If any sign is two-sided, with mirror images on each side, it counts as one sign.
The village requires smaller and fewer signs.
In residential districts a sign cannot have a surface area larger than six sq. ft. Only one sign is permitted per lot. Political signs in all other districts may not exceed 12 sq. ft. per sign, also restricted to one sign per lot.
When can they be placed?
Election signs can be erected in the township if any of three conditions are met.
The first allowance is upon certification of the candidate's nominating petition. For a write-in candidate, a sign can be placed after the candidate states their intention to hold a public office with a write-in campaign. For a matter to be voted on, such as a proposal, signs can be posted as soon as the township approves the topic to be placed on the ballot. Signs must be removed from the township site within 14 days after the election.
In the village political signs can only be placed 45 days prior to a primary election and must be removed 72 hours after the primaries if the candidate is defeated. If the candidate moves on to the regular election the sign can remain until 72 hours after the regular election. Signs such as proposition signs may not be erected 45 days prior to whichever election it is on the ballot and must be removed 72 hours after the election.
In the village every sign must include the name of the person who posted it, his or her address and telephone number.
No signs may be painted onto the exterior surface of a building or structure.
No sign can be illuminated.
The primary election is August 5, and regular election is November 4.
Two fire millage increases for the Orion Township Fire Department are proposed on the August 5 ballot.
A millage proposal for the North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) is also on the August 5 ballot. Please see the story on NOTA on Page 1.
No local public officials for the village or township will be voted on during the primary election.
Five members of the Lake Orion Village Council will be elected during the regular election. The three candidates receiving the highest number of votes will hold office for four years. A fourth candidate holding the fourth highest vote will hold office for two years, and one candidate will fill an unexpired term ending 11-16-2006.
Anyone who wishes to be considered for these positions must be formally nominated by filing a petition with the Orion Township Clerk by 4 p.m. on July 22, 2014. The petition must be signed by no fewer than 25, and no more than 50 registered village electors.