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Campaign 2012: Complaints follow as political signs sprout

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

It’s the first big election year since Georgetown County decided to stop policing political signs and removing those placed in the state Department of Transportation’s right-of-way. But as signs big and small bearing candidates’ names start to pop up along roadways, some are still looking to county officials to get rid of them.

County Council Member Jerry Oakley said he has gotten many calls about political signs this month and contacted the DOT office in Georgetown about signs at four places on Highway 17 after receiving complaints from constituents who said signs impaired drivers’ sight lines. Signs were reported just south of Litchfield Drive near HealthPoint, at the former entrance to Litchfield by the Sea, at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sandy Island Road, and at the intersection of Business 17 and Wachesaw Road.

Richard Pope, resident maintenance engineer for DOT, said he has checked into those signs, as well as others he received complaints about from one or two other individuals. They weren’t found to be a problem.

DOT only removes signs in its right of way if they are found to create a safety hazard, Pope said. None of those he looked at did, but they might interfere with mowing.

“We’re not into the mowing season, but we’re looking for contacts now with campaigns about moving them for mowing,” Pope said. “It’s hard to track them down, though, because they don’t have to get permits.”

The county Republican Party lobbied to do away with the permits. Jim Jerow, the party chairman, said no one has contacted him about political signs, but if they did, he would refer them to county officials.

“I’m staying out of that hornets’ nest,” he said.

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