"More outrage from Arlington VA - details to follow!"
18 October 2011
Don’t let this happen to you!
The existing rules in Arlington have allowed this to happen, what will the NEW rules do to prevent a reoccurrence? Arlington County is unwilling or unable to enforce the current zoning regulations. Illegal sign installers and businesses know this. Citizens are prevented and harassed when they attempt to have the rules enforced.
A citizen works with others to have the zoning regulations changed:
AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND, REENACT AND RECODIFY SECTION 37. “VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES”OF THE ARLINGTON COUNTY ZONING ORDINANCE TO MAKE IT UNLAWFUL FOR A FIRM, CORPORATION, OWNER, AGENT OR OCCUPANT TO VIOLATE SECTION 37.G, CRIMINAL PENALTIES, AND TO CLARIFY THAT A FIRM, CORPORATION, OWNER, AGENT OR OCCUPANT CAUSING OR, WITH KNOWLEDGE, PERMITTING VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 37.G CAN BE CITED AND HELD CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR SUCH VIOLATIONS IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE CREATION OF A CONVENIENT, ATTRACTIVE AND HARMONIOUS COMMUNITY AND FOR OTHER REASONS REQUIRED BY THE PUBLIC NECESSITY, CONVENIENCE AND GENERAL WELFARE AND GOOD ZONING PRACTICE.
A citizen sees an apartment complex and professional sign installers putting up hundreds of illegal signs, and contacts the Zoning Administrator to contact them to stop.
Every weekend from January 2011 to June 2011 he documents the illegal signs, banners, flags, balloons and contacts zoning with details. He also encourages others to do the same.
The Zoning Administrator cites the Apartment management with a Notice of Violation and indicates that the matter will be brought to General District Court and he was asked to testify in General Court.
At 5AM the same morning the request was sent he was arrested at home, handcuffed, and taken to the jail and served a warrant for felony theft of 240 (illegal mind you) real estate directional signs.
Signs he did not take.
The week before a police officer came to his apartment and spoke to his landlord and said he “should stop removing signs… Go to Arlington County to complain.” The officer never spoke to the citizen.
Signs he did not remove.
The citizen hires any attorney, pays $5,000.00 in legal fees and on the day of the trial the Commonwealth’s Attorney does not proceed (nolle prosequi) and drops the case, leaving the possibility of some other charges at a later date. He still needs to pay $1,000.00 to have the charges expunged and had to take days off from work to defend himself.
Signs he wanted left up for the County to see and have the County enforce the rules.
Arlington County does not follow up on General District Court, however the apartment complex stops putting up illegal signs, after six months of illegal signs.
Apartment Complex and Illegal Sign Installers: 1 Arlington 0 Arlington County citizen: -$6,000.00 and counting
Citizen now needs an attorney to recoup attorney fees, lost time from work, damage to his reputation and the possibility of losing his job. Do you have any suggestions on who can assist him?
I am that citizen, Robert Lauderdale RLL5@msn.com 703-237-2415
N.B. Illegal sign installers know Arlington County Code Enforcement is understaffed and does not work on weekends and holidays.
Businesses that deploy illegal signs know Arlington County Code Enforcement is understaffed and does not work on weekends and holidays.
Citizens who call code enforcement (703-228-3232) on weekends get a recorded message and it is days, if ever, before the signs are removed.
Political signs are the most flagrant violators, both on VDOT ROW and on public property; as long as they go unpunished others will feel entitled to the same treatment.