Taneytown ponders regulation of signs Campaign postings won't be restricted

September 15, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

The Taneytown City Council will be wrestling for several months with proposals to reduce the clutter of commercial signs without angering local merchants.

But the council has decided that it won't restrict the political campaign signs candidates post in homeowners' yards, at intersections and in vacant lots.

The council appointed a citizens committee to draft regulations covering commercial signs six months ago after City Attorney Thomas F. Stansfield advised the council that the existing sign ordinance is too vague to be enforced.

Council members asked Stansfield to prepare recommended changes for introduction as amendments to the sign ordinance at the Oct. 12 meeting. Introduction is a legal step required before the council schedules a public hearing.

Limits on candidates' signs proved a controversial proposal at an informal discussion on the citizens committee's recommendations at the council meeting last night.

The proposed maximum size, nine square feet, "basically limits you to one sign" per yard, said Mayor Pro Tem Henry C. Heine Jr.

Heine predicted that candidates' supporters would flood city offices with calls complaining that opponents' signs violated municipal regulations. "We're opening ourselves up to a lot of hassle," he said.

Councilman James L. McCarron observed that Carroll County seems more cluttered with candidates' signs than neighboring counties such as Baltimore. Restricting the signs, "sounds like a good idea to me," he said.

The council voted against regulating campaign signs over the opposition of McCarron and Councilman James Wieprecht.

Wieprecht did not comment on his "no" vote.

The committee presented draft recommendations to the council at a public meeting in August. At that meeting, a proposal to limit window signs to 25 percent of the window came under fire from a commercial landlord and a local liquor store owner.

The committee proposed increasing allowable window coverage to 35 percent after hearing the protests.

Pub Date: 9/15/98

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