Sign, sign, everywhere a sign......
With an abundance of signs placed along roadways in Henderson County, Commissioners Court has adopted a new ordinance that prohibits signs in the right-of-way and provides for prosecution of violators.
"This has come up in recent years of signs being placed in the right-of-way and interfering with drainage and becoming a public nuisance," County Judge Wade McKinney said.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin and County Attorney Clint Davis and Fire Marshal Shane Renberg worked on the wording of the ordinance, McKinney said.
The ordinance states that Commissioners Court is aware of the multitude of signs, known as “bandit signs,” being placed in the rights-of-way of public roads by persons without authorization.
County officials have been confiscating the signs by authority of the Transportation Code. The code also authorizes the Commissioners Court to appoint trained volunteers to assisted officials in confiscation of the signs.
Geeslin said the ordinance is only about the 12th enacted by the county.
"Personally, I've had a multitude of phone calls from a variety of constituents complaining about signs," Geeslin said. "It's one thing to advertise, but it's another never to clean it up."
Renberg said he also has received many calls complaining about signs.
Over time, the signs deteriorate and fall into the right-of-way. Mowing crews accidentally chop them up and distribute the debris.
Davis said the company or service advertised in the sign is not necessarily who put up the sign. They hire others to do it. That can make prosecution difficult.
A person found to have paced the illegal signs can be subject to prosecution as a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00.
The ordinance states that the sheriff, fire marshal or other trained volunteer, authorized by commissioners court can remove one of the signs.
Once a sign is confiscated, the sheriff or fire marshal shall notify the owner by certified mail. If the owner can't be located, the fire marshal shall publish notice of the confiscation in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, no later than the 10th day after the confiscation.