Enforcement of temporary sign ordinance ramping up

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

In an effort to keep the cities clean, sign ordinances are being enforced in Picayune and Poplarville.

While there are some exemptions, both cities have ordinances against the placement of temporary signs in public right of ways or medians.

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Poplarville Mayor Rossie Creel said the city’s code enforcement officer picks up temporary signs regularly. When Creel was an officer with the Poplarville Police Department he used to remove the signs himself.

Extra effort is put into the removal of the signs just before a big event in the city, such as Saturday’s Blueberry Jubilee.

“It’s not attractive to have a bunch of signs along the roadways.” Creel said. “You want your town to be attractive and we take pride in that.”

While citations aren’t typically written for violations of the city’s temporary sign ordinance, the signs are discarded once they are removed from public view rather than returned to the owner. 

There are times when the signs are permitted, such as during an election for up to 30 days or when Pearl River Community College holds an orientation day.

Creel said that most of the signs he sees in the city that violate the ordinance are from out-of-town businesses. That’s because the business owners in Poplarville know that cleanliness makes the town look more enticing, Creel said.

Within the limits of Picayune, code enforcement officer Tom Milar has been putting forth more of an effort to remove the signs. Just like in Poplarville, Milar said he typically leaves any temporary signs placed on private property alone. He said his weekly trips across the city to remove the signs have shown that there are less of the signs being placed on public property.

But there is one type of sign that is still prevalent.

“Garage sale signs are hitting us hard,” Milar said.

Once a sign is picked up in Picayune, it too goes to the dumpster. Milar said he used to give them back when the owner came looking for them, but he noticed that the sign would just end up where he found it the first time.

Picayune also has an exception in the ordinance. Milar said he will allows signs that advertise a public event that is free of charge, but only if the organizers come to his office to seek a permit. While permits for temporary signs typically involve a fee, if the sign will be advertising an event such as the Pearl River Community Band’s free concert, he will waive the fee.