AUSTINTOWN Police target signs placed on poles, in rights of way

Placing signs in the public right of way of a highway is illegal.
AUSTINTOWN -- If you're having a garage sale and thinking of posting a sign advertising it on a utility pole or in the right of way, township police have a tip for you: Don't.
Last weekend, the police reserves removed 230 signs from the poles and rights of way.
"The next day, there were more signs," said Bryan Kloss, interim police chief.
Since then, the officers have removed about 450 signs from public rights of way throughout the township.
Offenders include signs promoting garage and yard sales, as well as those that line the roadway announcing going out of business or other business sales.
"It's illegal to place signs in the public right of way and we're trying to remove them from the poles and trees and from the right of way at intersections," he said.
Kloss points to a section of Ohio motor vehicle law which prohibits placement of signs or posters in public rights of way or affixing of signs to trees or utility poles within the rights of way. The offense is a minor misdemeanor which may result in a fine upon conviction.
"We're not looking to cite people," Kloss said, cautioning that someone who defies police and continues to place signs may get a citation.
Combating clutter
The main goal is to rid the township roadways of the signs.
"They're cluttering up the highways and the roadways," the interim chief said.
It's a particular problem when someone is conducting a sale, posts a sign and then doesn't remove it when the event is over.
"It's difficult to enforce so it's something that's been overlooked over the years," he said.
Kloss cautions political candidates running in the upcoming November election that they are to observe the law too.
Signs placed in the yard of the home or business where the sale or event is being conducted won't be removed by police, he said.
"We're not taking the signs out of the front yard where the sale is," Kloss said.

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