April 26, 2018
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Houlton to discuss placement of political signs

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — Political signs on front lawns here have been replaced by holiday decorations, but a discussion over where the political signs should be located in the town continues and could be decided Monday.

Town Clerk Cathy O’Leary said Friday that a public hearing on whether or not to amend a municipal zoning ordinance that dictates where certain signs can be placed in town would take place Monday evening.

Town officials amended the ordinance several years ago. While the town included wording to say where business signs can be placed in the community, it did not state where political signs may be placed.

During the coming meeting, councilors will consider amending the Houlton zoning ordinance to state that signs bearing political messages relating to an election, primary or referendum may be placed in certain places in the community six weeks before the election. Those locations are Union Square, Market Square, Monument Park and Pierce Park. Political signs also may be placed on private property with the landowner’s written consent six weeks before the election, primary or referendum.

The ordinance now allows only for the placement of business signs.

Residents are unlikely to notice much of a change once the amendment is made, because political signs traditionally pepper Union Square, Market Square, Monument Park and Pierce Park. They also are highly visible on private property.

The amendment will simply make their placement once again legal under town law.

Under the proposal, signs must be removed by candidates or political committees no later than a week after the election.

Those who violate the ordinance will be fined $100 a day after notification of the violation by the code enforcement officer.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

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