The city of Live Oak had a problem during the last election cycle. Political signs and posters were placed in public right-of-ways, on private properties without consent or on street corners, posing difficulties for driver visibility. 

City officials are now considering implementing an ordinance that would give teeth to code enforcement by establishing standards for future election cycles. City Council members will discuss a proposed ordinance at tonight’s meeting. 

“We don’t require a sign permit right now, and that’s going to hold true, but we just wanted to lay out some standards as far as where candidates can put them,” said Kevin Valente, city planner for Live Oak. 

The ordinance being considered was recommended by the planning commission following its meeting in June. The commission believed limiting the number of signs per candidate could prevent the city from experiencing a number of issues that occurred during the last election cycle, according to a staff report.  

Some of the standards being considered include prohibiting the placement of signs and posters in the public right-of-way or beyond the legal setback line; they cannot be visible within 660 feet from the edge of the right of way of a classified landscape freeway; signs and posters cannot be fastened to the ground and cannot be placed on private property without prior approval from the owner or tenant; they can be placed 90 days prior to an election and remain in place up to 10 days after; and signs and posters cannot exceed 32 square feet in area or six feet tall. 

Posters or signs that violate those guidelines would be removed by a city code enforcement officer if the ordinance is approved. Currently, the city has nothing in its codes outlining political sign standards, rather it reverts to state law. 

After the public gets an opportunity to comment on the proposal and if council members take action at tonight’s meeting, the city will discuss the item at the next council meeting before being able to adopt the ordinance. If adopted, the ordinance could take effect 30 days after. 

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be inside the Council Chambers – 9955 Live Oak Blvd., Live Oak.

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