GOP's Chapin, Dell told to remove improper signs

August 04, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Two local Republican candidates have been asked to remove recently posted campaign signs because the signs were too large or were on public property.

A Westminster official said Stephen R. Chapin Sr., a city councilman and candidate for a District 5 seat in the House of Delegates, must remove two 32-square-foot signs posted on an empty lot he owns in the 100 block of Willis St.

The city ordinance limits political campaign signs posted in residential areas to 9 square feet and signs in commercial or industrial areas to 30 square feet.

Mr. Chapin's lot, about a block from City Hall, is next to the home of Ellen L. Willis, a Democratic candidate in the same race.

Carroll Commissioner Donald I. Dell, who is running for a second term, must remove a sign measuring about 30 square feet that is posted on Hampstead town property on Route 30, Town Manager John A. Riley said yesterday.

No one from Mr. Dell's campaign asked whether the sign could be displayed on the property, which is near Melvin G. Miller Memorial Park, Mr. Riley said.

"It's not the policy of the town to support anyone," he said.

Mr. Dell's workers also will remove a small sign posted on county-owned property at Smith Avenue and Gist Road in Westminster, County Attorney Charles W. Thompson Jr. said.

The property is part of the Carroll County Farm Museum. Mr. Thompson said he did not think candidates should be allowed to bTC post political signs on county property.

The county ordinance does not regulate the size of political signs. The law says only that political signs may not be posted in state or county rights of way near roads. It does not address signs on other county property.

Mr. Dell was in Las Vegas at a national conference yesterday, and his campaign treasurer, Robin Frazier, was out of town on vacation. Mr. Thompson said he talked with another campaign worker who said the sign would be removed.

"It wouldn't be fair to leave it up during the fair," Mr. Thompson said.

Hundreds of people attending the annual 4-H/FFA Fair at the Carroll County Agriculture Center this week pass by the corner.

Westminster City Clerk John D. Dudderar said the city received complaints about Mr. Chapin's signs on Willis Street, "and rightfully so."

Mr. Dudderar said city workers would not remove the signs.

"We could, but some people might think that's Gestapo method. We don't operate that way. We would try to work with anyone, regardless of who they are," he said.

Mr. Chapin, who returned from a vacation yesterday afternoon, said that his campaign workers erected the signs and that he had not seen them.

L He said he planned to meet with city officials this morning.

"I'll just do whatever they tell me to do," he said when asked whether he would remove the signs.

Mr. Chapin's campaign treasurer, James Talley of Woodbine, said the complaints about the signs were politically motivated.

"I guess this is a little game Ellen Willis is playing," Mr. Talley said.

Ms. Willis posted a campaign sign about the same size in her back yard, which faces a city park. A Democratic candidate in another race told her Tuesday that the sign did not comply with the city ordinance, she said. She said she planned to remove the sign last night.

After she learned about the ordinance, Ms. Willis said, she called Mr. Dudderar and asked him to enforce the measure against Mr. Chapin.

"I would never have put one [a large sign] in my front yard. The neighbors wouldn't like it," she said.

In addition to Ms. Willis, three other Democrats are running in the Sept. 13 primary for a District 5 delegate seat: Philip R. Deitchman, incumbent Richard N. Dixon and Eric R. Hirtle.

Seven other Republicans are in the primary in addition to Mr. Chapin: W. David Blair, Thomas J. Cassella, Joseph M. Getty, Joseph H. Mettle, Nancy R. Stocksdale, Jerry L. Toadvine and Francis X. Walsh.

Three candidates from each party will advance to the November general election. Three delegate seats are open.

In the commissioner primary race, four Republicans are running as well as Mr. Dell. They are W. Benjamin Brown, David Duree, Charles L. Stull and Richard T. Yates.

Five Democrats are contending in the primary: David A. Grand, incumbent Elmer C. Lippy, Rebecca A. Orenstein, Cornelius M. "Neil" Ridgley and Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh.

Three candidates from each party will advance to the general election. Three commissioner seats are open.

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