By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
How did that old song go? Oh yes, it sounded something like this.
Everywhere there’s a sign
Messing up the scenery
Breaking my mind
That protest song from nearly 50 years ago talked about signs restricting people from doing this, that or the other.
Nowadays, advertising signs are breaking some minds in the city of Effingham. It’s not the message on the signs, but their illegal placement on the city right of ways between city streets and sidewalks. And tolerance of the practice is ending in January
The signs, large and small, have been popping up everywhere. Some have been placed in the cracks by roadways. City officials have received plenty of complaints on the information overload proliferation.
“The city would like to remind everyone that signs used for advertising are prohibited within the city right of way,” City Administrator Jim Arndt noted in a public notice last week. “City personnel will be removing all illegal signs on Jan. 3, 2017.”
Skeptics might call this regulation overkill, but the problem has become a public safety concern as well. Some signs create a traffic hazard by blocking the view of the roadway when turning or backing out.
In addition, City Hall has tried to gently nudge sign owners to pluck up their signs. Unfortunately, the message didn’t hit home, Arndt said.
“We’ve called people. We’ve reached out to them. But they didn’t take up the signs. So now, we’re telling them to pick them up or we’ll pick them up for them,” he said. “If they want to keep them out, they just have to reach out to the property owners to get permission for placing them on private property. You can’t put a sign on someone’s property without their permission.”
Owners of discarded signs can recover them from temporary storage between the Effingham Police Stations and City Hall. Signs not recovered by the close of business at City Hall on upcoming Fridays will be discarded by city personnel, Arndt said.
Effingham has an ordinance requiring permits on advertising signs. Those permits are acquired through the Effingham Building official’s office, 201 E. Jefferson, or by calling 217-342-5300.