Archived Story

Niles Twp. tables sign resolution

Published 9:10pm Monday, May 7, 2012

Niles Charter Township Board Monday night tabled until its May 21 meeting action on a political sign resolution.

Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt offered the resolution, recommended at her last clerks’ meeting because of problems with campaign signs during the previous election cycle.

“We got samples from Lincoln and St. Joseph townships,” Durm-Hiatt said. “They are actually more restrictive. They say you can’t put them up until 30 days before the election, and you have to have them down five days after the election. We had issues two years ago in the general election with people putting signs up literally on township property.

“Louise Stine, the (Berrien County) clerk recommended it because you can control your own property. Basically, the only thing that’s not in our ordinance already is that signs cannot be placed on township-owned property. We already have that they cannot be on utility poles or street signs or in a manner that obstructs vision at road intersections and driveways.”

Supervisor Jim Kidwell expressed concern “this resolution sounds like any board member can go out and start pulling up signs because any signs found violating the restrictions may be removed without prior notice. The first step in a zoning violation is to write a letter, and now we’re jumping that to pick up signs that are private property. I talked to the township attorney today.”

“We always have the right to pick up signs in the right-of-way,” Durm-Hiatt said. “The road commission does it all the time. I definitely think we should have something prior to people putting up signs.”

Kidwell added, “If we have somebody running against us and we’re out there picking up their signs, that’s another concern. It is recommended board members not enforce political sign violations.”

A visit from Savage

Brian Savage of Baroda, a Republican candidate for the 78th District state House seat held by Niles’ Sharon Tyler, attended to introduce himself.

Tyler is not seeking a third term in November.

The last day is July 9 to register to vote in the Aug. 7 primary election.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    The problem is that too many candidates place signs in road right-of-ways without permission from the property owner (remember 2008 at South 11 and Fort in the city limits). Remember, a right-of-way is not ownership! It gives entities, like the road commission, to maintain the portion of property for THAT purpose only, not for candidates to place signs. And why worry about board members or whoever pulling up signs, it happens every election year. A better ordinance would be NO POLITICAL SIGNS at all! Save us all the troubles? Then there are the “freedom of speech” arguments but hey, we live in a different America today where we are losing our freedoms daily, right.

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