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Township battles clutter, content with temporary sign law



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July 07, 2010 - Groveland Twp- The content and location of temporary signs along township roads may have a new look in the next few months.

In an effort to curb a hodgepodge of temporary signage that seemingly blossoms anew each week—the township board voted 5-0 at the June 14 board of trustees meeting to amend the sign ordinance to incorporate regulations for temporary signs.

Township Supervisor Bob DePalma said that key features of the new temporary sign amendments will include a fee and permit.

"Basically, the township shall determine the location of the temporary sign after an inspection of the subject's premise," said DePalma. "The signs go too far out on a corner of an intersection that it becomes an obstruction. That can cause an accident. It gets really cluttered (with signs) in front of Bueche's on M-15. There are those, however, that put up signs that legitimately don't know the rules."

Changes in the proposed rule include that temporary signs are permitted for 30 days upon submittal of an application and upon receiving a permit and payment of a temporary sign fee from the township. Temporary signs shall not be redisplayed on the same premises in the township until an interim period of 90 continuous days has expired. Political signs are allowed on private property.

"The business signs are a bigger problem," he said. "We patrol the township each week to pick up signs that are within the right-of-way and are not in compliance. The distance is determined from the center of the road. "Regarding political signs there's not much you can do except ask the candidate to remove them 10 days after the election is over."

DePalma said the new temporary sign fee is set at $150.

Francis Tull, code enforcement officer for the township, picks up illegal signs along the roads each week.

"Often the signs are expensive," he said. "We don't allow signs on telephone poles, on posts, or in right-of-ways. Real estate signs we don't bother too much. If there's an issue with visibility we contact the company to move them. We're willing to work with people when they want to put up a sign."

Francis also reminds residents that home business signs are also prohibited. "People are just trying to enhance their business. There's no problem with that, just go get a permit before you put them up."

In Brandon Township, Clerk Jeannie McCreery said it's difficult to regulate the size of signs or how many signs, including political signs, people put out.

"Our policy is the signs can't be put up any earlier than 30 days before the election," said McCreery.

"They must also have the signs down a week after the election. They are not supposed to be put in the right-of-way. Generally, they are supposed to be on private property, with a businessowner or homeowner having given their permission. When someone files an election petition, we give them a packet that tells them where they can put their signs, but not everyone files a petition with us."

"Placement of election signs is not on the top of my priority list," continued McCreery. "Other things are a priority— the budget, working with smaller staff. We don't have the funds to have someone check every day, we have an ordinance enforcer who goes out a couple times a week and picks them all up then. It's 30 days, the election will be over then. They dot the landscape everywhere. It doesn't matter if it's someone's yard or the corner. It's not like someone is spoiling the environment. Yes, we have an ordinance that says we shouldn't do it, but is that something to spend a lot of time on? It's not a big deal to me."

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