Aberdeen OK with signs that 'benefit the community'

Signs in Aberdeen city rights-of-way won't be removed and the people who put them up won't be penalized as long as the signs are for events that "benefit the community," and as long as they are taken down within a day or two after the event is over, city council members agreed at a work session Monday afternoon.

The discussion on temporary sign enforcement was prompted by Councilwoman Ruth Ann Young, who said she wants to see consistency in any such enforcement.

"Are we going to modify the requirements formally so the public at large knows" what is acceptable? Young asked.

The city does not permit temporary signs in public rights-of-way, but City Manager Doug Miller admitted it's difficult for the city to control. He also questioned whether the city should be removing signs for farmers markets, churches or other community groups.

"I have absolutely no problem with a church group saying a community or party, or get-together at this church on this date," Mayor Mike Bennett said. "I think for community-type events, those are things that benefit the community in general."

Commercial signs in city rights-of-way, however, should not and will not be permitted, he said, and suggested a fine, "$5 or something like that," for people who violate the regulation.

"That said, we're not in a position to enforce taking signs out. We have no manpower, and we'd be taking from things they're doing."

The state has made a lot of improvements around the city, Councilwoman Ruth Elliott said, and she's seen three to four bright signs at the intersection of Bel Air Avenue and Paradise Road for the last three to four weeks.

"People coming into the city, they're seeing all that stuff," Elliott said. "I know we don't have a lot of time to spend on this, but if we want the city to look better, we need to do something."

The council members agreed it's not a "one size fits all" issue, but came to the consensus that the town will permit the signs for groups or events "that give back to the community in a very regular or very substantial way," but they must be taken down immediately after the event. If they're not, the city will remove the sign, follow up with whomever posted it and then take action.

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