3 campaign signs posted improperly

August 11, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

State Highway Administration employees have found three political campaign signs posted on state property in Carroll County and have removed them or plan to do so soon, Gary W. Bowman, chief of the SHA Outdoor Advertising Section, said yesterday.

State law bars political signs in state rights of way or along interstate highways.

The signs that violated state law and the candidates they advertised were at:

* Routes 140 and 31 in Westminster for Stephen R. Chapin Sr., a Republican candidate for a District 5 delegate seat.

* Route 97 and Hook Road in Westminster for Thomas E. Hickman, Republican candidate for state's attorney.

* Routes 140 and 91 in Finksburg for Carolyn Scott, a candidate in the nonpartisan Board of Education race.

SHA crews generally determine that a sign is in a state right of way if it is closer than nearby utility poles, Mr. Bowman said. The poles usually mark the edge of state property, he said.

Last week, Mr. Chapin was asked to remove two 32-square-foot signs posted on an empty lot he owns in the 100 block of Willis St. in Westminster because they were too large.

A 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.

Carroll Commissioner Donald I. Dell, a Republican who is running for re-election, was asked to remove two signs because they were on public property.

One sign was on county property at Smith Avenue and Gist Road in Westminster. The other was on Hampstead town property on Route 30.

Mr. Bowman said his office receives five to 10 complaints a day from Maryland residents about political signs.

In addition to prohibiting signs on public property, state law requires political signs to conform to local zoning laws and requires candidates must get permission from owners before posting signs on private property.

The law also bars candidates from posting a sign earlier than 45 days before any election and requires losing candidates to remove signs within 15 days after the primary. All signs must be removed 15 days after the general election.

The primary is Sept. 13; the general is Nov. 8.

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