County sign crews have noticed that they’re collecting more signs, but can’t definitively correlate the increase to local political campaigns, said Michelle Casciato, Prince William County neighborhood coordinator.
But judging by community feedback, the sign wars are on and probably will be until the Nov. 7 election.
“What we have had is an increase in the number of complaints about political signs,” Casciato said.
The McCoart Administration Center is a prime location for political signs, Casciato said.
“Those generate a lot of complaints from citizens,” Casciato said of the signs that can appear overnight during the annual campaign season.
Litter crews from the the Department of Public Works remove a lot of signs from public rights-of-way on the Prince William Parkway, the U.S. 1 corridor and the Va. 28 corridor as well, Casciato said.
The recent downturn in the housing market may also be having an impact on the number of signs litter crews remove from area roads, but that’s hard to figure out too, Casciato said.
“We don’t actually sort them as to how many political signs, versus how many real estate, versus whatever,” Casciato said. “We just pick them up and throw them out.”
When the crews find political signs placed illegally, they get in touch with the campaigns to persuade them to stop putting the signs out.
“We tell them that we can take civil action against them and actually take them to court,” Casciato said.
A warning letter usually does the trick, Casciato said.
“Once we contact the campaign, we see less signage.” she said.
People who illegally place real estate signs get letters from the county as well, Casciato said.
Signs are allowed on private property with the owner’s permission, but signs larger than 2 feet by 2 feet require a permit, Casciato said.
It’s hard to tell where it’s legal to put signs since the rights-of-way change on every road, but people who see signs somewhere where they think they’re not supposed to be should call neighborhood services at (703) 792-7018, Casciato said.
Election signs must be removed within five days after the election, Casciato said.