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Selmon seeks to ban signs on county rights of way

[03/20/01] Warren County may be headed toward an ordinance banning signs on public rights of way as a result of a suggestion made Monday by District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon.

As the Warren County Board of Supervisors ended its regular third-Monday meeting, Selmon, whose district is wholly within the city limits of Vicksburg, asked that Randy Sherard, the board’s attorney, draft a sign ordinance.

Many cities, Vicksburg included, have laws that prohibit posting of signs on public rights of way and utility poles. Vicksburg’s ordinance specifically mentions political signs as a banned advertisement, but the law is sporadically enforced.

Selmon said his idea behind asking for a proposed ordinance is mainly beautification.

“Some people choose to disregard county right of way … the areas look like a blitz,” he said.

He said he does not believe anyone should be allowed to put any kind of signs on the county rights of way, but some that are already there would have to be permitted to stay. Selmon also said his primary target is the type of temporary sign that normally pops up during political seasons.

Yard signs would not be included in any law.

Another provision Selmon said he wants is one that will allow county work crews to pick up illegal signs.

Selmon said he decided to propose the ordinance this year because there are no county elections nor statewide elections planned for this year.

“The reason I wanted this in a non-political year is so somebody won’t say the board came up with this to hurt their campaign,” he said.

Vicksburg, however, is in the midst of a campaign season with party primaries six weeks away.

Sherard agreed a year without a county election, in particular, is a good one to at least begin talking about a sign ordinance.

“I look at this from a safety standpoint,” he said, adding that many intersections around the county have sprouted so many political signs during past political campaigns that motorists’ views have been compromised.

He said he can’t recall any county in Mississippi with a sign ordinance.

“I’m sure some of the more progressive counties like DeSoto or Forrest have them,” Sherard said.