Political signs popping up too soon

  • Wednesday, July 23, 2014

As the special election primary draws nearer, political signs endorsing candidates can again be seen scattered along roadways in Georgetown County.

But according to the City of Georgetown, signs shouldn’t be up just yet.

“In the city limits, you can have political signs if you bring a $250 check for a deposit to City Hall [for a permit], said Matthew Millwood, a GIS and planner with the city.

“That entitles you to put up political signs on private property 30 days before the election, and they must be taken up seven days after. If you don’t take up the signs seven days after we retain the right to keep the $250 check.”

Ordinance 1010.4 of the City of Georgetown Code of Ordinances defines the political sign restrictions, which also includes size restrictions.

There is also a limit on where signs may be located: signs may only be placed on private property. Those found in the public right-of-way will be removed by a code enforcement officer.

Millwood said the rule of thumb is that if a sign is closer to the road than the telephone pole line or the sidewalk, it’s in the right-of-way.

Signs placed on private property without a permit won’t be removed either, Millwood admitted, but the city will make a call to the candidates.

“It’s not common for people to follow the rules,” he said. “We’ve picked up many signs this week.”

Millwood said he’s seen several signs for Cezar McKnight and Rep. Ronnie Sabb.

“We’ve picked up quite a few, and we’ve even had a few [candidates] in the office talking to us. …. We tell them just to keep them out of the right-of-ways, we don’t want to clog our city with thousands of signs like the county.”

Millwood said the housing and community development department already has “several checks in the office” waiting for the 30-day period to begin.

He said the police department often receives complaints regarind the signs, but the police do not become involved unless candidates begin stealing an opponent’s signs.

The city code enforcement officers handle all complaints and removal of political signs.

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