A common sight especially in spring and autumn each year, the yard sale sign too often partially obstructs drivers’ views of side streets’ oncoming traffic. Although the habit seems harmless enough, people frequently post their ads on stop-sign or street-sign poles at about eye-level. Several garage sales taking place during the same period, cause stack-ups of cardboard notices on the same poles.
According to County Engineer, Mike Kunz, unauthorized signs posted on right-of-ways in Jackson County constitute violations in two aspects. “They’re covered under codified ordinance chapter 1034.03, and land development ordinance chapter 9.6.5A,” he said. Kunz added that local cities also have rules that may be similar if not identical.
“Both County codes require anyone posting a sign for any reason to first obtain a permit. These cost $272 each,” said Kunz. “When it comes to road right-of-way areas, we wouldn’t issue permits allowing signs for yard sales, or commercial purposes.”
Obviously, for decades people holding yard sales have ignored the ordinances and probably, to the dismay of drivers, expect to continue doing so.
Bobbi Rainey, proprietor of Rainey’s Corner recalls that obstructions to visibility at Antioch Rd. and Rte. 234 prompted her to keep her kids off school buses. Accidents and “near-misses” occurred so frequently then especially with logging trucks around, that she opted instead to drive the children to classes.
Currently at the same intersection wrecks still occur far too often. Rainey’s daughter Chrystal noticed two nasty crashes within the most recent three months. Rainey concurred that this pace seemed quite typical.
Kunz stated that lack of manpower usually precludes them from aggressive enforcement of the illegally posted sign ordinances, but any cited violators could face fines of up to $600 per incident. “It would be up to the county hearings officer to determine the exact penalty,” he said. “It’s handled about the same as a building, planning, or dog violation.”
The way the County most-often tackles the problem? “If we spot a placard that is causing an obstruction to motorists’ sight, we’ll probably remove the offending sign from the post,” Kunz said. But, one other precaution he mentioned: “if such a hazard caused a crash, the victim could file a lawsuit for damages against the person who posted the ‘sight-line’ obstacle.”