MOUNT VERNON — As the weather cools each fall, strange objects spring up in yards and right-of-way strips around the city. Either fall mushrooms are making an appearance or an election season is upon us.
Mount Vernon, like most cities, has laws governing the size and placement of signs. Basically, a property owner needs to give permission for a sign to be placed on his property, signs are not to be in the public right-of-way, they are not to be attached to a utility pole and they are not to create a safety or visibility problem.
City Law Director Bill Smith said many signs seem to end up in the right of way illegally, but the city generally does nothing about them unless they are creating a hazard. Then, he said, candidates have generally been cooperative when contacted.
If a sign is in front of private property and the owner didn’t give permission for the sign, the owner can simply remove it.
The same is true about signs placed in vacant lots or in front of empty buildings. In both cases the property owner can simply get rid of them if they are there without permission.
This happens every year, Smith said. “We try not to get too worked up over it. After all, the election will be over in two weeks and the candidates then have three days to remove their signs.”