Signs, signs, everywhere signs

NORWALK No more Mr. Nice Guy. Norwalk city code forbids placement of signs along any
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Norwalk city code forbids placement of signs along any of the city's right-of-ways. Only city signs and official markers are exempt.

Up until now, city officials tried to track down the people responsible for posting business signs in those areas. The responsible parties were then in charge of taking them down.

No more.

From now on city officials will remove illegal signage without warning.

"What we decided to do is wait for (word to spread), give people a couple of days to collect them, and if they are not gone by then ... we'll just yank them," said Dale Sheppard, Norwalk's safety-service director. "We'll take them down to the street department and if someone wants them, they can go down and get them."

In the past eight months, signs advertising businesses, yard sales, flea markets and available real estate have cropped up all over the city. A company selling hot tubs earlier this year posted strikingly bright pink signs all along major streets.

Such signs have to go, city officials said.

On private property, people are reasonably free to put up whatever they want. But the city's right-of-ways -- areas stretching from the center of the street to the back edge of the sidewalk -- are a different story.

Some businesses and people attach promotional signs on telephone poles. These handwritten signs advertise car washes or impromptu garage sales. Elsewhere, signs sitting atop metal stakes are pushed into tree lawns at corners located along busy intersections.

"A lot of times they are real estate companies that put for sale signs or open house signs up, naturally because they want people to see them," Sheppard said. "Many times the house for sale or where there's an open house isn't on a main thoroughfare, so they go out and put the sign in the city right-of-way on a major street."

Complaints from community members of sign violations kept adding up. City officials decided the most practical way to deal with it was to remove the signs, no questions asked.

"It was more (handled) on a complaint-generated basis," said Norwalk law director Stuart O'Hara. "We had complaints about lack of enforcement, so now we'll enforce it."