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Campaign Signs in the boulevard, are they legal?

As campaign season descends upon us, we are beginning to get questions about campaign signs, specifically in the boulevards along our streets. If you are looking for a quick answer - no campaign signs are allowed in the boulevard. Additionally, all campaign signs must be taken down 7 days after the election. If you want some more background on that answer, please keep reading.

The City Ordinance that prohibits campaign signs in the boulevard also prohibits all other signs in the boulevard and it is found in the city code under Sec 30.50.G.7.d.i. It reads:
No signs in the public right-of-way or in any required right-of-way shall be allowed except for governmental traffic control signs (unless a business premise is on the railroad right-of-way). Properly permitted sandwich board signs not to exceed six (6) square feet per side are excepted from this provision provided that they shall be limited to one (1) per twenty-five (25) feet of building frontage and may only be located in front of the business being advertised. The City Commission, upon request from a property owner in front of whose property a sign is to be located, may where deemed in the public interest, allow a sandwich board sign to be placed other than in front of the business being advertised.

The reasoning behind the prohibition is that the public right-of-way for the street is public property and cannot be used for individual purposes. This can be confusing as the property owner technically owns the property to the street centerline. However, the width of the street right-of-way (usually 60-66 feet) is managed by the City (or State) for the public good.

So how can you tell where your boulevard begins and ends? The City defines the boulevard as that portion of a public street right-of-way approximately fourteen (14) feet in width on each side of the thirty-eight (38) foot wide paved or traveled portion of the street used for vehicular travel and located between the back of curb and the front boundary line of the abutting landowner's property. So in general, it is 14 feet from the back of the curb. That space is usually 8 feet of grass and 6 feet of sidewalk. If there is no curb on your street, then an approximate distance of 34 feet from the street centerline is where your boulevard starts. Likewise, if you have no sidewalk, the boulevard ends 14 feet from the back of the curb or the estimate of the back of the curb.

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