By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
City temporarily hangs up sign law
Placeholder Image
The Hinesville City Council recently voted to place a 120-day moratorium on enforcement of the city's ban on placing temporary signs in city right-of-ways, a response to a request from the Hinesville Area Board of Realtors.
HABR members filled the council's meeting room during a May 1 meeting to express their anger over what they thought was unfair treatment from the city's "sign cop," a new employee hired with Inspections Department.
They contended that despite regulations in the city's sign ordinance prohibiting the placement of temporary signs in city right-of-ways, traditionally code inspectors looked the other way when open house directional signs were positioned in such locations.
Coldwell Banker Holtzman Realtors broker George Holtzman told council members with the Inspections Department needing to use its small workforce for higher priorities, there was an unwritten rule that realtors could put signs in right-of-ways from noon Friday to noon Monday without repercussions.
Holtzman said that changed "when the city hired this additional ordinance person to work weekends" and open house signs began being removed for violating the 15-foot setback rule.
HABR President Jimmy Shanken, in a letter to Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, wrote, "We, as Realtors, are having a hard time understanding why for years we have had the opportunity to erect our signs and now you all have hired a 'sign cop' to work weekends to remove our signs."
Speaking in front of the council at the May 1 meeting, Shanken said realtors felt "police tactics are not being enforced equally across the board. Realtor signs are being removed, however, many other signs are being left in violation in clear view of the signs that were removed."
Barring the placement of open house signs in right-of-ways and yard signs just outside the right-of-ways, where they are easily visible to the public, also made it harder for realtors to advertise their properties, he added.
Shanken said his organization agreed there is a need for a sign ordinance to keep the city from being cluttered with temporary signs, but members wanted special provisions for their industry, at least until a new sign ordinance is created.
He requested that realtors "be allowed to place our yard signs one foot outside the right-of-way and place our open house directional signs in the right-of-way from (noon) on Friday until (noon) on Monday until a common sense ordinance is approved."
Shanken and his members got their wish at the council's May 15 meeting.
Minus councilman Charles Frasier, who was absent from the meeting, the council voted unanimously to impose a moratorium on enforcing the rule against placing temporary signs in city right-of-ways from noon Friday until noon Monday.
Mayor Jim Thomas said the moratorium would last 120 days, while a sign committee puts together recommendations for a permanent solution to the city's ongoing problems with the sign ordinance.
However, the moratorium, he noted, is not only effective for local realtors.
"This affects everyone ... It affects every person with a business or individuals that have temporary signs," Thomas said.
The moratorium is scheduled to expire at midnight on Sept. 11, according to a notice published in the Courier.
Sign up for our e-newsletters