Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Remove the blight - Revise the HP Code on political election signs...

In anticipation of the election season, the City of HP posted information today regarding placement of political election signs.  This issue arises with each political season.  When will City Council take action to prevent this blight to our community? 

Unfortunately, many HP candidates consider signs to be a critical factor in their own personal success, which is why we've seen such an uptick in the number of signs during the last few elections for mayor and council.  So, it may be rather unlikely that City Council will revise the standards without your input.  Our visual enjoyment of the streets of HP, even in an election season, is really not in their self-interest, but it becomes relevant if you make it clear to your City Council what you need from them.  They know the signs are unsightly.  All you need to do is to remind them that they need to do what is good for our community and that you want them to overhaul the City Code on political signs now. This reflects our community's desire to limit waste and the number of unsightly signs to the greatest possible extent while, of course, preserving everyone's right to support political candidates.

Do you like driving through HP during an election season? Did you know there is no limit whatsoever on the number of campaign signs, as long as they are spaced more than 12" apart? They can be as large as 6 square feet and as high as 6 feet.  Nor is there a time limit on how long those signs can be up before or after an election.  Yes, political signs are an expression of free speech but the community can balance that with appropriate standards.  We have a right to enjoy our beautiful community. If your neighbor is a candidate or just politically passionate, you could be coming home every night for years to a yard that looks similar or worse than the image included in this posting!
Indeed, for several months during the last major city election, my neighbors and I had to gaze upon more than 30 election signs across the street for the Mayor and Michael Cohn (running for the NSSD 112 school board and who owns the fence to which all these posters were affixed).  After complaints to City Hall and several weeks, Mayor Rotering, kindly came out to the right of way on a cold day and in the deep snow to remove most of her signs (which, she informed me, had not been placed there by her but by a supporter). Candidate Cohn was completely indifferent to the complaints of his own neighbors and the signs remained up for many more weeks.

We have a Design Review Commission in the City of Highland Park.  We care about how our city looks, having an extensive sign code for businesses that reflects our expectations of a beautiful community.  Please contact the Mayor and City Council and tell them it is time to revise the standards for political signs. You can find their e-mail addresses here.

Summary of the HP standards concerning political signs is here.

Long term residents recognize that we didn't suffer for as many months and with as many signs as we do today.  Perhaps this level of eyesore in years gone by reflected the good judgment of the candidates and how much they treasured our community.  Today, we can't rely on good judgment, we need to rely on good standards.  Please contact City Hall and tell them they need to work on this.

1 comment:

The HP at Union said...

Just saw your blog. :-) Here is another HP blog from Chattanooga, Tn. The HP at Union