Niles Twp. tables sign resolutionPublished 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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