County Seeks to Simplify Sign Ordinance

Kosciusko County is revising its sign ordinance in part to adhere to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling stems from a case in Gilbert, Ariz., involving the use of temporary signs by a church that posted the same sign every week promoting their services.

While the details of last year’s ruling aren’t of great significance, the bottom line is that the high court determined that zoning policies should not differentiate between types of temporary signs.

Locally, real estate signs make up a large amount of temporary signs compared to ones promoting garage sales, fish fries, candidates and others touting residents’ work such as plumbing and heating.

Kosciusko County’s sign ordinance currently has two classifications of temporary signs – real estate and all others – and is on the verge of simplifying and amending its policies, said Matt Sandy, who presented the ordinance to the county commissioners on Tuesday.

Kosciusko’s current ordinance has more than a page of details on how real estate signs should be treated.

In addition to simplifying the scope of temporary signs, one of the major changes in the new ordinance is how far back from roads the temporary signs need to be.

The proposed ordinance would no longer use road rights of way to determine the location of where signs can be posted. Instead, except for state roads, signs will need to be 10 feet from the edge of the “driving surface.”

Another change involves what is done with signs found in violation.
In the past, temporary signs that were in violation would be pulled and owners of the signs would be notified.

Under the new plan, signs posted too close to the road will be removed and discarded.
“Signs are expensive, so careful where you put them,” Commissioner Ron Truex warned.