PHOTOS: Sign Law Means Confiscation in Bel Air

Residents could be fined on a per-sign basis if they are left in the public right-of-way.

A candidate's name. A weekly dinner special. A real estate advertisement. They're all on signs piled behind the town's building.

Since a state law went into effect Oct. 1, for three hours a day on weekends, a town employee has been collecting the signs from public right-of-ways. Director Randy Robertson said the effort will continue each Saturday and Sunday until the problem dies down. 

“We’re picking up only those we determined to be in the public right-of-way,” Robertson said. “We’re picking them up in hopes that people get the hint that we’re not going to leave them out there.”

On Jan. 1, 2012, per new regulations, officials across the state can fine property owners $25 for each sign taken from the public right-of-way. Robertson hopes losing signs they paid for is enough to discourage residents from disobeying the new law.

"They’re probably wasting their money if they keep sticking them in right-of-ways," he said.

Joan Ryder October 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM
What about the man on the corner of Tollgate & Rt1 who is wearing a sandwich board. Are they going to pick him up?
Brad Gerick October 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Lol, what would the fine be for picking him up, Joan?
Stacey Rebbert October 22, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Can someone define "public right-of-way"?
Guy October 22, 2011 at 02:13 PM
What about the small business signs? Like: leaf cleaning, haircuts, tutoring. They're all eyesores. Maybe a $100.00 fine per sign would stop them.
Mark Parker October 22, 2011 at 02:28 PM
hey Stacey: any lot or portion of land owned by state, county or other government jurisdiction that has been dedicated to "public use" (as in a roadway) - these are public rights-of-way. if there is a sign on a private lot but along the roadway, it's OK... unless of course it violates one of the many overbearing zoning codes that we must abide by.
Emily October 22, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Mark, you're absolutely right. It's getting harder and harder to abide by every minute law on the books. Guy, I agree that some signs are a nuisance, but leaf cleaning, for example, is offering a service that is seasonal, and I for one have benefited by such a sign.
Kai October 22, 2011 at 03:45 PM
What are the existing laws about the advertising signs? I thought they were already illegal. Are the advertising companies getting fined as well or just the land owners? They are not always the same.
Robert Infussi October 22, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Bob I think all signs bar none should not be allowed on any road and or corner it makes Bel Air and other areas look very junkie.
helpussomeone October 22, 2011 at 05:16 PM
They'll have a field day next year with the elections! Campaigns will need extra money for all the fines!
Tim Impallaria October 22, 2011 at 08:37 PM
You may also lose the sign on you own property. What I mean by that is if it is in an easement they might take it also. You maintain it (cut it/clean it) but they will take it under the easement clause. You may want to ask before you place a sign out, how far their interpretation of Gov't property goes!!
Kai October 22, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Ask Randy Robertson to charge the advertisers $25 per sign recovered by Harford County citizens ... and pay citizens five of those dollars for every sign they take down and hand in to authorites at the Public Works. We don't want the problem to die down; we want to erase it. And we are willing to help for $5 a sign.
Bel Air Native October 23, 2011 at 02:56 AM
Good one, Joan!
Guy October 23, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Kai, where do I sign (no pun intended) up?
HappieGrannie October 24, 2011 at 02:41 PM
My biggest issue is when those signs block your line of sight. Also not just signs but trees and weeds and shrubs that are planted on corners. Best example is the intersection of 161 & 623 in Darlington. The house on that corner has plants that mess with your line of sight not to mention the dang telephone pole on that corner. If we are gonna get rid of the signs how about the other things that cause a safety hazard
Kai October 24, 2011 at 03:04 PM
HoppieGrannie .. you are so right. When trees and shrubs block roadway signs and vision of oncoming traffice, it becomes quite dangerous.


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