Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sign Sweep Rundown

The Dover Department of Planning and Community Development would like to thank owners of business in the City for compliance with its sign ordinance. This recognition comes after staff held the first illegal sign sweep of 2012. The sweep occurred between Wednesday, January 11th and Friday January 13, 2012. A total of 21 signs were confiscated during the sweep.

I had announced the clean-up of illegal and unpermitted temporary advertising signs throughout the City of Dover, on January 3rd as part of a winter cleanup around the community.  Illegal and unpermitted signs include those on utility poles, or in the right of way.

The illegal sign removal action was warranted because the placement of these temporary signs in public right-of-ways and medians of streets, on utility poles and attached to trees is not permitted by the Dover Sign Ordinance and may cause a safety hazard for traveling motorists or create a visual blight that is unsightly for residents.  These signs detract from legitimate business signs that have gone through the proper permitting process.

I am very pleased with our results. Overall, Tim and I collected 21 signs, compared to this time last year, when we collected almost 24. When you consider that the last sweep was over six months ago, it appears that our education and outreach campaign has continued to succeed.

Furthermore, it was a good experience for Timothy Corwin, our new Assistant City Planner. He noted that none of the signs collected were from local Dover based business. The signs collected advertised tree removal, firewood and hot tub sales provided by business outside the community. “It’s very rewarding to work in a community whose citizens and businesses value such a high quality of life.  I’m looking forward to helping Dover maintain that quality of life by reducing clutter with future sign sweeps,” Corwin told me.

Business owners that have placed these signs were advised to remove the illegal signs in advance of this clean-up effort.  Any sign that was confiscated will be held for thirty days prior to being recycled or destroyed, unless the sign is claimed by the owner after paying a reclamation fee based on the actual cost of man-hours and equipment use.  Repeat offenders may be subject to prosecution and fines.

This was the fourth sweep the we have conducted since the summer of 2010. Staff has been monitoring signs and holds the sweeps every few months. At the same time, efforts have been made to reach out to businesses to explain regulations and the safety concerns associated with the placement of signs within the right of way.

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