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Boardman township continues effort to get rid of illegal signs

Published: Thu, July 24, 2014 @ 12:07 a.m.


Advertising signs are illegally posted at this convenience store at Market Street and Roche Way in Boardman and on many other roads in the township. Utility poles are government property and, therefore, business owners are not permitted to post signs on them.

By Jordyn Grzelewski



The township zoning department continues its efforts to stem the tide of illegal signs often posted by businesses near busy rights of way, said Zoning Inspector Sarah Gartland.

“Enforcing the sign ordinance is something you’re never done with; it’s something you have to continually work on with the community,” Gartland said.

Kim Kotheimer, a former zoning department field inspector, said the township could be doing a better job of enforcing the sign ordinance, however.

Kotheimer, also a former township police officer who went on to work for the zoning department, said police worked hard to crack down on illegal signage.

“When I go into Boardman and see all this stuff popping up that we tried hard to address, it’s a little bit disappointing,” Kotheimer said. “They did say in [a May 2014 Vindicator article] that they are going to try to address this, but it’s kind of perplexing that nothing has been done. ... We pretty much had it under control. And then for whatever reason ... they got lax with it for a good year.

“I would just like to see it better enforced, for the health of the community.”

Gartland said, however, the department is doing all it can to enforce the ordinance that forbids businesses from posting temporary signs near rights of way, or from parking painted vehicles near the street as an advertisement.

The ordinance also prohibits individuals from posting temporary advertisements on utility poles, such as fliers for garage sales. Businesses can attach signs to their building, and individuals can advertise on their own property.

“Those are probably the two biggest categories, the temporary signs near the rights of way and the vehicles painted as signs,” Gartland said.

Gartland said the township responds to all complaints they receive and also documents violations and contacts business owners when a department official notices a violation. She said there always are more violations during the summer.

Gartland said the protocol is to find a complaint or notice a violation, investigate it, then contact the property owner and give him or her a set amount of time to comply.

If the property owner fails to comply after a certain point, the zoning department turns the issue over to the prosecutor’s office.

“If anyone isn’t sure that a sign is legal or proper, they should definitely contact us. We like to give them guidance and guidelines ahead of time, so they don’t spend money on a sign they can’t put up,” Gartland added.


1questionreality(248 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Where's the part that should read, "Despite what Gartland said, this reporter found close to a dozen locations with violations that have been occurring since the May 2014 Vindicator article."

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2markc919(24 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

If I'm such a big McDonald's fan that I chose to have my own personal car painted with their logo, will I then not be allowed to park as close to the street as can the other patrons?

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3grazor50(56 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Of all the problems perplexing government controllers these days, one would wonder why this has become a priority all of a sudden. In the amount of time spent investigating an illegal sign and contacting the owner, just remove it and move on,, BUT NO, let's make it an issue and contact the prosecutor's office on these temporary signs. BETTER health of a community could be found a different way to spend taxpayer's dollars.

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4questionreality(248 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

grazor wrote: "In the amount of time spent investigating an illegal sign and contacting the owner, just remove it and move on..."

Better yet: tag it, leave at the door 'and move on.'

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5dmacker(274 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Signs are easy and less controversial than the illegal use of tractor trailers for warehousing seasonal stock and the building of structures attached to houses on concrete pads instead of foundations.
Why stir up any controversy in Boardman "A nice Place to Call Home."

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6biteme(38 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

What the article also neglected to mention was there are now more people working in the zoning office than ever before which means they have more people working during the day than they have police officers on the street during the day.

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7valleypoboy(106 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Zoning. Boardman. I don't usually think of those 2 words together. Clearly, whatever business wants in Boardman, business gets. Look around, it's easy to see why people see nothing wrong with tacking up a sale sign.

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8commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

What about all of the satellite dishes put in the front yard (some attached to trees in the front yard).? How ugly can you make your yard/house?
This is against zoning but nothing done about it. Satellite dishes are required to be placed in the BACK of a house.

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