City tough on campaign signs


By Nolan Gilmour - ngilmour@laurinburgexchange.com



Scott Witten | Laurinburg Exchange Campaign signs line a fence off of the 401 Bypass, a state maintained road, where political advertisements are permitted.


LAURINBURG — Laurinburg is restricting political campaign signs along city-maintained roads this election season.

City workers began taking down candidate signs on Oct. 2.

Campaign signs are allowed along North Carolina Department of Transportation roads, like Main, Church and Atkinson streets, as well as Turnpike Road, and West Boulevard.

Officials said they had received a number of complaints about how the signs were placed on city streets.

But not everyone has been happy to see some of the campaign ads go.

Harold Mercer, a long-time Laurinburg resident, said he was upset when he saw that signs had been removed from Hammond Park. Most of the signs were in the city’s right-of-way.

“If the city is going to remove them from one place, they have to remove them from every place,” said Mercer, a World War II and Korean War veteran.

Under state law, municipalities can regulate the placement of political signs on rights-of-way of streets located within the corporate limits.

According to state regulations, political signs on Department of Transportation right-of-ways are permitted 30 days prior to the start of one-stop voting. The signs are to be removed within 10 days after the election.

Campaigns must have permission to before placing a political sign at a residence, business or religious institution.

Other restrictions on the placement of signs include:

— No sign closer than three feet from the edge of the pavement of the road.

— No sign blocking motorist visibility at an intersection.

— No sign higher than 42 inches above the edge of the pavement of the road.

— No sign larger than 864 square inches.

— No sign obscuring or replacing another sign.

The city can also remove political signs from residential yards if the signs are in the right-of-way. But officials said it may be easier to leave those signs in place.

“Technically we can take them up and tell people to move them, but we only have a certain amount of man power,” said Michael Mandeville, Laurinburg Community Development director. “We don’t want to be going into yards and knocking on doors to tell them to move their signs back 10 feet.

“If we got complaints about the signs, that would be a discussion we would have to have.”

Candidates can pick up any of the removed signs at the city’s administrative building at 211 Atkinson Street.

The Scotland County Board of Elections said complaints about the timing of placement, location of placement and ultimate removal are not matters that the county boards of elections or the State Board of Elections can address. People should contact the local DOT District Office, or call the NCDOT toll free line at 877-368-4968 during normal business hours.

Scott Witten | Laurinburg Exchange Campaign signs line a fence off of the 401 Bypass, a state maintained road, where political advertisements are permitted.
http://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_IMG_2385.jpgScott Witten | Laurinburg Exchange Campaign signs line a fence off of the 401 Bypass, a state maintained road, where political advertisements are permitted.

By Nolan Gilmour

ngilmour@laurinburgexchange.com

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171

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