Sunday, October 3, 2004

Ft. Mitchell tough on political signs

Distances from roads, walks strictly enforced

By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

FORT MITCHELL - The topic of politics is in the air - and in the grass in Fort Mitchell neighborhoods.

Red, white and blue political signs for both Republican and Democratic candidates dot yards along city streets. But the placement of those colorful signs doesn't always coincide with city rules.

"Most people take care of their yards and don't like seeing yards inundated with signs," said City Administrator Bill Goetz. "Which is why we made the regulation in the first place."

Linda Gooch, a resident of Beechwood Road, said she placed a sign for Sen. Jack Westwood in her yard Sept. 18, and Sept. 22, got a letter from the city saying her sign was in violation of the city's political sign regulations.

"They said it was too close to the sidewalk," she said.

The city's regulations for political signs outline a distance of at least 5 feet back from the sidewalk and at least 15 feet from the edge of the road pavement.

If her sign was not corrected, according to the letter Goetz sent, she would be fined anywhere from $25 to $50 a day.

Gooch said she suspected some partiality when she received the letter, since she saw signs in neighboring yards for Westwood's opponent, council woman Kathy Groob, that appear to be in violation but have not been corrected. "It just made me wonder since candidate Groob is on city council, and her signs are still up close (to the sidewalk)," she said.

"Have they gotten letters and ignored them, or is the city not doing anything with them?"

Goetz said the city has sent letters only to people who are in violation of the city's code.

"We don't treat any candidate differently than another," he said. Police Chief Steve Hensley said no residents have been issued citations or have paid for sign violations yet. However, city officials have sent more than 30 letters out for violations, including signs in the right-of-way, signs too large, or too many signs in one location. "We have sent letters to them all - Groob, Westwood, Davis, and Clooney," he said. "Obviously the Groob/Westwood race is most heated in this area."

Gooch said although Groob signs seem to be the majority in the neighborhood, there are still some signs for Westwood, which she said have been moved back from the sidewalk.

"I'm guessing they got a letter too," she said. "It just seemed there was some bias there."


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