08/23/13 As a public service to the residents of Plymouth, Mayor Mark Senter is bringing forth laws on the city books that folks should know about.  Today he is discussing signs. 

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind…do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

That was the FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND that made that hit in 1971.  But, 42 years later signs are still very prevalent in our lives.  This article is about temporary signs.  Many people believe that you can put a sign anywhere, whether it’s a yard or garage sale sign or a small placard advertising local businesses.  As is in most cities and towns throughout the State of Indiana, the City of Plymouth has a certain ordinance that regulates where a sign can be placed.  The grass strip between the street and sidewalk is city right-of-way and this is where we see most signs that are being placed illegally.  There are often signs on utility poles as well and those too are illegal.

The city ordinance is pretty straight forward.  Any sign intended to convey commercial speech and placed in or upon the public right-of-way or upon utility poles located within the public right-of-way is declared a public nuisance and is therefore prohibited. 

All city employees, including appointed officials and elected officials have been empowered and authorized to handle a violation by taking the following step:  The city official or employee can remove and confiscate any sign intended to convey commercial speech from the public right-of-way or from any utility pole located within the public right-of-way.  They shall deliver, within a reasonable amount of time after confiscation, the sign to the Street Department Garage during regular business hours. Street Department personnel shall then make a reasonable effort to notify the owner of the confiscated sign by contacting them either through the U.S. mail or by telephone if the number is listed on the sign.  The person or company listed on the sign that violates the city ordinance has 10 days from the date of the notice to retrieve the sign, or it shall be appropriately disposed of through recycling or otherwise.

 If a person, corporation, or other entity is found to have violated the sign ordinance on 2 or more occasions, then the matter shall be referred to the office of the City Attorney.   The City Attorney shall then seek an agreement with the offender that no more signs will be placed in the public right-of-way.   If no such agreement can be reached, the City Attorney is authorized to seek injunctive relief in the Marshall Superior Court No. 2, and seek to have imposed a fine not to exceed $500 for each sign found and or placed in the public right-of-way after notification of the violation.  In addition, the City Attorney in seeking judicial enforcement is authorized to seek recovery of reasonable attorney fees in accordance with Indiana law.

Mayor Mark said, “So as you can see this is a city team effort.  Any employee has the right to pick up the signs and drop them off at the street department.”  He continued, “If you have any questions feel free to call my office or the office of Building Commissioner Keith Hammonds. (936-2824)

Have a great week and enjoy The Blueberry Festival!

Mayor Mark Senter   936-6717