Shorewood OKs new limits on political signs
By Clare Walters For The Herald-News June 27, 2012 7:54AM
Updated: July 29, 2012 4:59PM
SHOREWOOD — Talk of political signs divided the village board Tuesday.
The board, in a split decision, adopted an ordinance prohibiting placement of political signs in the public right-of-way. With the new ordinance, all signs are effectively banned from being erected on the right-of-way and must be on private property.
Trustees Gary Fitzgerald, Steve Brockman and Celine Schwartz voted in favor of the ordinance while Trustees Dan Anderson and Jim McDonald voted against the measure. Trustee Dan Gron was absent. Mayor Richard Chapman voted in favor of the ordinance, giving the rule a majority vote.
Fitzgerald, who recently ran for a state Senate seat, said he learned during his campaign that Shorewood is among a minority of communities that permitted signs in the right-of-way.
Schwartz said she wouldn’t want someone posting a sign in front of her home without her permission as it would give others the impression that she endorses the candidate. The same issue occurred when someone placed political signs in front of the Troy Fire Protection District’s Station No. 1.
“I never put my signs where I didn’t have the owner’s permission,” she said.
McDonald said he’s put signs in the right-of-way in the past and didn’t see a need for the ordinance. Political signs are an important means of getting a candidate’s name out and are routinely taken down by candidates within the required time frame, he said.
Political signs can be posted 30 days before an election and seven afterward.
Anderson, who agreed with McDonald, said the village is making an issue out of something that hasn’t been a problem.
The ordinance will put “too much of a burden” on village staff, costing extra time and money, Anderson said.