I need to pop back in and give a full report when I have time, but the problem has mostly been solved here due to the efforts of myself and a few others. At this point, CE is dragging the sign spammers - including builders - into the metro environmental court with no warnings.
I hope some of the others of you can follow my example, but in short I embarrassed CE in a couple of emails (which followed a phone call). I heard the same stuff as others at first: "it's too hard to track them down", etc. Well, gee, sorry your job is so hard. As I pointed out, 5 or 6 builders were responsible for over 90% of the trash. Take out any one of them and the rest will follow quickly. I was right.
Our code allows for a fine of $50/day/sign. One way I embarrassed them was simple. I volunteered to put together all the documentation for them to collect on $100,000 of fines. That's 100 signs for three weeks - very easy to document.
I have a couple of basic tenets. First, CE shouldn't be pulling down signs. It's illegal, the criminal needs to clean up their own mess. As I told CE, you don't go mow an unmowed lot. Instead, you notify the violator that a certain fine is racking up per day (or week), and after a month or so you mow it, then sue them for the cost of mowing plus the fines. The same should apply to signs. They need to pull them own signs up, then pay the fines.
I also took them to task over the fact that thousands of dollars in fines weren't being collected. That doesn't make sense. At $50/sign/day, it's easy to finance a person who does sign enforcement.
Anyway, I can't write the whole thing up here, but our city has went from being a cesspool of illegal signs to being almost completely clean. And the ones left are being actively sued by the city. This is how it should be.
Don't take "no" for an answer. Let your lazy CE know that it is their *job* to enforce codes, and if that's too hard (as I was told at first) then they need to find new jobs. McDonald's is almost always hiring in my neighborhood, and the owner assures me that the job isn't that hard.
I'll write more when I get time. I'm preparing to move to an adjoining county south of here, and when looking for houses I've noticed that they have a cesspool of sign spam there. I'll soon be notifying their CE that it's time to get off the can and get to work; might as well do it before I get there.
#1. "RE: Nashville - problem solved" In response to Reply # 0
Thanks for sharing this information. We've basically said this all along for the CE's with less than a proactive stance. Cooperation and a good working relationship with the CE's is still the best medicine to remedy the problem.
#2. "RE: Nashville - problem solved" In response to Reply # 0
>I also took them to task over the fact that thousands of >dollars in fines weren't being collected. That doesn't make >sense. At $50/sign/day, it's easy to finance a person who >does sign enforcement.
I mentioned that to my local CE. According to NC law, however, the fines collected go to the government school system instead of financing departments. And, there may be inherent problems with such self-financing schemes; those departments might end up doing absolutely nothing except things which bring in money, like some cops writing speeding tickets.
I've always liked the idea of a bounty system where sharks would be paid so much per illegal sign that they document and bring in.
#3. "RE: Nashville - problem solved" In response to Reply # 0
Sounds like you have turned the whole city around. Congratulations!!
Your posting suggested that builder signs were the primary problem and that the authorities were willing to go after them with enough "heat" from you to keep them moving forward. What a delight it is to hear about a city in which the various departments are willing to do their job even when the offender might be considered as a "friendly" party.
Nashville picks up tons of illegal signs from roadsides each year, but few offenders are prosecuted or pay fines.
Metro Councilman Charlie Tygard wants that to change.
He has asked Metro's computer experts to investigate creating a system that would let citizens call in and log illegal signs and their locations.
"The problem is, there's no database" to document the chronic offenders with hundreds of signs, Tygard said. If a database is set up, "when we get them in court, we can say he has a hundred-plus signs. … Now we've got ammunition to go after these guys."
#8. "RE: Nashville - Councilman wants stiffer penalties for illegal signs" In response to Reply # 7 Fri Apr-17-09 01:54 AM by pops
Response to a lot of the above
Our code is responding more too. I got the exact same response when I mentioned the problem getting worst and all the signs I see on telephone poles. We only have one guy to remove them, they said. I mentioned I how much area I would removed. He only had the responsibility of a quarter of the area I covered.
A good thing about are code violation reporting systems is its on-line. When I see signs, I photo them, and send them in via E-mail on the code enforcement complaint form. A week later the signs are gone! Since I knew all the routes the spammers used, and most of the players, I can keep up on sending in the complaint form, as soon as the spam shows up. This seems to have worked in slowing down the spam.
Las Vegas was bad in 2002 when I began to remove. It looked consistently clean in 2005. Slowly got worst in 2006. Then clean. Then got trashed again at the end of 2007. Now during 2008 their presence is mainly in the north east crossing two different jurisdictions. I hope to get a relationship with these different cities too, City of Las Vegas, and City of North Las Vegas. The other larger jurisdiction, which removes, is Clark County. I rarely see any in Henderson NV. but when I do I report it to their code enforcement. They are slower, but eventually remove. They say there busy with homes with stagnant pools and mosquito's. I tell them the longer the signs stay up, the more likely they will spam again after you remove. I think they get the message.
Clark county must be prosecuting violators with tracable numbers. I've seen these signs drop significantly and they were the worst violators. After years of removing, I realized most violators are all related. But the most prolific had a couple licenses, Carpet Cleaners. Now there signs had disappeared. I see spam starting from some of their addresses, advertising rent insurance, foreclosure help etc... It is sporadic in its frequency.
I could keep all three cities in the Las Vegas valley clean myself, but I like the points mentioned above of having code do it.. It saves me time and money, and thats what they get the big bucks for. Also they become more aware of the problem. And if they ever want to stop removing, I would gladly suggest the successful programs mentioned in previous post. But for now they are doing a good enough removing.
This is my second anniversary and every year I like to send sharkies a message of encouragement and my year end favorite photos.These spammers work together spamming the valley with both numbers on their signs.