Harford court says man may remove signs Injunction lifted against activist

November 02, 1995|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,SUN STAFF

In a continuing battle over the display of illegal real estate signs along state highways in Harford County, the anti-sign forces appear to have scored a small victory.

A court injunction against Rommel Crabtree, a Creswell activist who single-handedly destroyed hundreds of illegal signs in weekend forays this fall, was lifted Monday in Harford County Circuit Court, according to court documents. In effect, the ruling allows him to continue to remove the illegally posted signs.

Questar Homes Inc. has sued Mr. Crabtree, asking for $900,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, the documents show. The company accuses Mr. Crabtree of altering or removing as many as 180 of the company's directional signs that were posted along Maryland roadways on weekends, according to the documents.

On Friday, the company won an injunction against Mr. Crabtree, prohibiting him from touching its signs.

But at a hearing Monday, Judge Stephen M. Waldron lifted the order, noting that Questar had not provided sufficient evidence to continue the injunction, according to the documents.

The 2-foot-high cardboard signs on wooden stakes that direct potential buyers to new housing developments are prohibited by law on state and county roads.

Yet they regularly appear Saturdays and Sundays throughout the state, often in clusters and at busy intersections.

In September, Mr. Crabtree touched off a controversy in Harford by damaging and removing hundreds of the temporary signs in a seven-hour tour of the Bel Air, Abingdon and Forest Hill areas.

State and county authorities acknowledged then that the signs were illegal but said they did not have the staff to remove them.

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