City of Burlington cracking down on unpermitted signs

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BURLINGTON, NC – The City of Burlington is cracking down on people who put up signs in places where signs are not permitted.

You’ve seen them on the side of the road, beside the sidewalk and even hung on a utility pole. No matter the business, there are places signs can’t be placed.

City officials say it's a simple matter of compliance and it’s not really complicated, other than some differences in distance requirements downtown and exceptions for non-profits and fundraisers these are the basic requirements.

A business is allowed one temporary sign which must be smaller than 32 square feet. The sign should be placed least 10 feet from the curb of the road and it is not allowed to be placed in the right of way, which is roughly the area between the side of the road and the utility poles.

It's become such a problem in Burlington that zoning enforcement officers spent the day Thursday removing illegal signs - almost 300 before noon.

Burlington Zoning Administrator Joey Lea says the rules about signs exist to help preserve a nice look and to create uniformity across all areas of town.

Right now the town is riddled with signs placed everywhere. And while a lot of the signs may be for services you've never even heard of or, in one instance, a crudely made sign for some puppies, some of the more common violators are seasonal tax preparation places and even K-Mart, which had a few of its signs confiscated.

“It all comes down to knowledge and I'm sure some of the bigger box places deal with this in bigger cities and towns but it all comes down to knowing what your city or town requires,” said Joey Lea, Burlington’s Zoning Administrator.

For the time being the confiscation of signs serves as a warning but repeat offenders could be fined for the zoning violation and that comes with a civil penalty that is $50 a day for every day that the signs are out there.

The good news is everybody will have an opportunity to come and retrieve their signs.

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