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City laws regulate candidate signs as elections near

Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • May 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM

With elections approaching in August, it’s hard to miss the number of candidates’ campaign signs that continue crop up all over Wilson County.

However, candidates don’t just post at their pleasure, as the city of Lebanon has guidelines for signs.

Lebanon Commission of Public Works Jeff Baines said all political candidates receive a memo addressing frequently asked questions and are informed of the city’s sign ordinance policy.

“As a general rule, most are cooperative and appreciate the guidelines,” Baines said.

He said, though, there are some things that can get a candidate’s sign removed.

“If signs are placed that we believe will block a vehicle driver’s view, we remove them immediately,” Baines said. “Otherwise, we simply notify candidates if other issues are noted by staff or anyone from the general public.”

According to Baines, this sign policy has been intact for several years and is “rather effective.”

“Sometimes a new candidate or their workers need to be reminded of the guidelines, but overall we receive very few, if any, calls,” Baines said.

He also said Codes Director Patsy Anderson is instrumental to the policy.

“[Anderson] has done an excellent job developing this policy and tweaking it over the past few years,” Baines said. “She has also worked to educate the candidates.”

Per the memo distributed to all political candidates, frequently asked questions regarding where signs can be placed, as well as noted complaints regarding where signs have previously been placed, are addressed.

Signs and flyers are not to be attached to utility poles or traffic signs or to be placed in the public right of way.

In identifying where a right of way is, guidelines are in place to follow as a rule of thumb.

First, signs should be placed on the house side of the roadside ditch and should not be placed in the ditch. Signs should also be placed on the house side of the sidewalk and always at least 5 feet behind curbs.

According to the memo, if the aforementioned guidelines do not apply, signs must be a minimum of 10 feet off edged roadway pavement.

Permission from private property owners must also be granted before placing any signs.

Additionally, Lebanon code enforcement officials will immediately remove any sign creating a safety concern or hazard.

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