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Ross zoning change bans political, other signs along public roads

Tony LaRussa
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STEPHEN HUBA l TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Ross officials approved a change to the township's zoning laws on Feb. 11, 2019 that prohibits placing signs like the ones used by U.S. Rep. Connor Lamb in the last election in public rights-of-way. The rules apply to all signs, not just ones used for political campaigns.

For people seeking elected office, putting signs along well-traveled roads and busy intersections can be just the ticket for building name recognition.

But for the folks who have to look at the sea of signs dotting the landscape, they’re no more than litter on a stick.

On Monday, Ross commissioners unanimously approved a change to township zoning rules that will prohibit placing any signs in the public rights-of-way.

The measure was approved as a so-called “pending” ordinance, which means even though some of the details of the zoning change still need to be worked out, the revision to the law take effect immediately.

Commissioner Dan DeMarco said the pending ordinance procedure was used so the new rules would be in place for the May 21 primary even though the prohibition is not limited to political signs.

Placing any sign announcing a public or private event, organization or other activity in public rights-of-way could result in a warning followed by a fine of up to $300 for repeat offenders. The township classifies the public right-of-way as the strip along a road between the curb and utility poles, according to manager Doug Sample.

Signs still can be placed along private property with the permission of the owner.

“There’s been a feeling among several of the commissioners that the proliferation of these signs along our roads is just not very aesthetically pleasing,” he said. “Several years ago we tried to get people to remove the signs soon after the election or an event was over but we had little success.”

Officials had hoped that requiring people pay a $100 deposit that would be refunded once the sign is removed would serve as an incentive.

“We didn’t have much luck with requiring a deposit so we dropped it,” said DeMarco, who noted that the resources don’t always exist to enforce laws that try to combat nuisances.

The township will

The board is tentatively scheduled to approve a final draft of the ordinance at its meeting on March 18.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or [email protected] or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.