Ever been bothered by signs plastered on street corners or blocking your view of the road? With the approval of a new ordinance, County departments will have a new tool to end the visual blight of illegal signage. The Code Enforcement Division of the Department of Community Development will start issuing citations for unapproved signs on private and public property to ensure that community standards of health, safety, and property preservation are met. The new regulation, effective September 23, stems from concerns raised by residents and businesses about the proliferation of unsightly signs being a public nuisance and potential traffic hazard.
“Our goal is to stop the posting of these signs once and for all,” said County Executive Bradley J. Hudson. “This will help deter blight, revitalize area and convey the message that unsightly signage is not welcome here.”
Because the State designated such signs as a public nuisance, Code Enforcement and the Department of Transportation have historically removed these signs on publicly owned property, with no penalty to the violator. Often times the violators are out-of-town businesses that drive through and post signs at night, often high up on poles that require extra equipment to remove, all at a cost to taxpayers.
“With this new ordinance, we’ll have the ability to pursue violators – businesses that post signs on street corners, utility poles, and fences -- through fines and administrative penalties,” said Carl Simpson, Chief of Code Enforcement.
The County will be required to give the violator notice and a reasonable amount of time for correction. If the violator does not remove the signs within the designated period, monetary penalties could be assessed.
SMUD has positively weighed in on the new ordinance while Chambers of Commerce and Property and Business Improvement Districts have stated that they intend to inform their members that any signs within the public right of way are not permitted.
Prohibited signs include:
Portable A-Frame signs
Flags other than the flag of the United States, State of California, and approved government agency or registered non-profit organization
Signs on fences or utility poles
Visit the Code Enforcement website or contact the County Planning Section at 916-874-6221 for more information about permissible signs.