City sign ordinance to be enforced during election cycle

Published 7:46 pm Friday, February 16, 2018

With election season starting to get into full swing, the City of Elizabethton is offering a friendly reminder about the guidelines for political signs in the city.

Representatives from the city issued a notice of the City of Elizabethton – Government recently to offer some insight into the guidelines now in place during a political season.

“We know many citizens want to support their candidate in the upcoming election, so we ask that you please do so within the laws of Elizabethton,” part of the post read.

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Jon Hartman, City Planning and Economic Development Director, told the Elizabethton Star Friday that the city appreciates all the work citizens and candidates have taken to adhere to the regulations.

According to city documents, the city does not require any type of permit for the placement of political signs, but does regulate different items — size, time and location — about signs in the city limits.

The size of a sign that can be placed is based off where a piece of property is zoned within the city, according to Elizabethton Municipal Code.

According to the code, in residential zones — classified as R-1, R-2 and R-3 — the maximum sign square footage is four feet. In industrial and commercial zones — M-R, B-1, B-3, B-4, M-1 and M-2 — larger signs (limit is 32 square feet with a maximum height of 8 feet) are permitted.

For the location of a sign, the code regulates the position of where political signs can be placed and mentions that political signs “cannot be in the public right-of-way and that they must be a maximum of 1 foot away from all property lines for 4 square feet and under 5 feet away from all property lines for signs over 4 square feet.”

City documents also indicate that signs cannot be located “within a 35 foot by 35 foot triangle” at the intersection of any two or more roads.

Other stipulations involved power line poles. According to the city, all political signs need to be placed on the house or structure side of all sidewalks and power line poles.

If no poles and sidewalks are near where a sign is to be placed, a minimum requirement of 5 foot for signs under 4 square feet, and a minimum of 10 feet for signs over 4 square feet should be between the top of a curb or edge of pavement and the sign. No election signs can be placed on city property, including city parks.

Another key component of the sign laws in the city is the display time frame. Signs can be placed 90 days in advance of an election and 14 days post election.

“In the case of a primary election, the winning candidate’s political signs may remain so long as the next election to be held is the general election for which the position the candidate is running is being voted upon,” states city documents.

There are penalties for non-compliant signs.

Repercussion for going against the laws could include the confiscation of a sign, a citation, $50 per day fine, or a required court appearance.

Hartman added the department will continue to patrol and enforce sign regulations throughout the campaign season through the November election.

For further questions about the size or placement of a sign, individuals can visit the city’s website, Facebook page or can contact the Building Codes Division of the city at (423) 542-1503.