Canfield Township's zoning inspector removed about 100 of the signs last year.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Dave Morrison wouldn't mind if you took the law into your own hands. He just doesn't want you to get hit by a car as you do it.
Morrison, the Canfield Township zoning inspector, said local residents are free to remove the small cardboard signs that are on many suburban street corners.
Those signs advertise for companies that supposedly can help you, "Work at Home, earn $1,500 to $5,800 a month!" or "Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!"
Code violations: The signs often are posted in the public right of way, a violation of a section of the Ohio Revised Code. The section states, "No person shall place within the limits of the right-of-way or affix any sign, poster, or advertisement to any tree or utility pole within the right-of-way of any public highway outside of municipal corporations."
"That's really just visual clutter," Morrison said of the signs, adding that people who remove them from street corners should make sure they are not in the way of traffic.
Morrison said at a recent trustees meeting that he has removed and thrown out at least two dozen of the signs from township streets in recent weeks. He also noted that he removed about 100 from the right of way last year.
Morrison said he has never seen those responsible for placing the signs on the street corners and that he suspects they are erected at night.
"These people have no regard for our township," he said. "They apparently just want to litter."
In Austintown: Morrison isn't the only Mahoning County zoning inspector concerned about the signs. Michael Kurilla Jr., Austintown zoning inspector, said the signs are a "visual annoyance" in his township.
Kurilla said the signs can be a safety hazard in the summer, when they are placed on street corners along with garage sale signs and other advertisements that can block the view of drivers. Kurilla said the township road department is responsible for removing signs.
Work-at-home signs: Recently, most of the signs posted in the suburbs have been black, white and red advertisements declaring that people can work at home and earn thousands of dollars. The signs include a phone number and an Internet site address.
Calls to the phone number are answered by a voice recording offering instruction in setting up an e-commerce or mail-order home business.
"This is the only work-from-home business with a complete, proven system that works regardless of your background," the recording states.
The Internet site shows that the company offering the instruction is called Home Business System International. The company operates in every state and a total of 46 countries, the Internet site states.
Messages left about the signs were not returned.
Success in Boardman: Some townships are fighting a successful battle against the signs. In Boardman, zoning inspector Lou Rescineto said his employees have worked with police to remove the signs.
"They really have been disappearing in our township," he said. "I think people know we've been on top of that."
Those who post the signs can be fined $100 for each day the signs are in the right of way.
Boardman Police Officer Kim Kotheimer said he records the signs he removes in a log book. He then tries to contact the companies that post the signs.
Recordings: Kotheimer said he's rarely gotten more than a recording. In response to the recording, he leaves a message noting how many signs he's removed and explaining the state law that makes them illegal.
The companies seem to understand that the signs can't be posted in the township, Kotheimer said.
"They know it's not welcome in Boardman, so they don't waste their time," he said.