Sign Here

Alert “06880” reader Ed Simek is — like us — tired of all the signs we see around town. But unlike most of us, he’s got a plan. Ed writes: 

Here’s a suggestion on how we can improve Westport aesthetically, and raise town revenues at the same time.

Sign 2Every weekend, tag/estate sales are held all over town. Handmade signs are placed at every major street crossing.

While we all enjoy scouring these sales, no one enjoys looking at weatherbeaten signs all over town, many of which may be weeks old.

My suggestion: Have someone drive through town on Tuesday mornings and accumulate the signs that people haven’t removed themselves. There will be a $25 fine for each sign found still posted on Tuesday morning. Such a rule will certainly serve as a strong impetus for tag sale sign removal.

I’m certain there are senior citizens/college kids who’d love the opportunity to make a few bucks doing this.

A viable idea? Or one destined for the scrap heap? Click “Comments” below!

Signs 1

21 responses to “Sign Here

  1. Jill Turner Odice

    I think it is a great idea! That gives them time to remove the signs on their own after the weekend and is incentive to not just leave them up…

  2. Susan Hopkins

    Great idea.

  3. Sounds like the idea of a Life Nazi.

  4. Mary Ruggiero

    An alternative…providing attractive readymade signs for a deposit and then refunding most of it when the signs are returned. Signs would have a place for writing in a date and address. Available at Town Hall and police station.

  5. the policy should carry over to campaign signs as well.

  6. Excellent suggestion.!!! I just removed 3 signs this morning put right by my driveway… Singles. Com Iam sure everyone has seen them littered all over town. How about everyone doing their part in removing these illegal visual pollution. Westport town officials take note!!

    • Speaking of — and, another offender I saw today — does anyone know what is the business model here? These aren’t real websites that do anything, but pieces of crap where cheap display ads reside. Surely the revenue from these pathetic ad venues couldn’t support paying anyone to put out all those signs? Could it?

  7. I believe this current epidemic of ragtag signs on public property came about as result of a dumb ruling by a Federal judge a few years ago that it was a 1st Amendment right to put political signs — not just on YOUR property, but on PUBLIC property. (This would seem to invalidate the whole idea of a lawn sign in the first place: showing that YOU endorse a candidate.)

    In any case, as a result of this stupid judicial call, it seems that our local communities lost the will to police ANY kind of sign, whether it’s for a dog lost maybe a decade ago, a Psychic Fair, or my perennial favorite: those highly discounted Hot Tubs that seem to be falling off trucks everywhere.

    Try to put up a professionally made sign in front of your legitimate business? That’s another story. The beautification police will be all over you with ridiculous requirements, while they ignore all the ragtag offenders.

  8. Regulating signs based on their content or whether we like them or not might not stand scrutiny.

  9. Robert Mitchell

    The Town ordinances regarding temporary signs posted by organizations are clear: Political signs and those advertising charitable events are permitted subject to guidelines. Commercial signs are prohibited, per the rule: “Pursuant to the Town of Westport Zoning Regulations, no sign shall be placed off-site that will be used to advertise the sale of goods.” (Presumably, ‘goods’ can be interpreted to include ‘services’; e.g., ‘’.)
    Tag sale signs are more of a gray area, more ‘neighbor-to-neighbor’. But I like the suggestions of fines for those not picked up on time or ‘pre-designed’ signs available for a deposit.

  10. Great idea to fine anyone leaving up leftover tag sale signs. Especially those without dates…it’s no fun running down a street after a sign and finding out 1/2 mile later sake must have been last week.

  11. Ann Marie Flynn

    Great idea……wonder how difficult it would be to,get the ” fine monies” from any one. Why don’t some concerned citizens petition the RTM to act on this and firm it up? An ordinance could make it a reality.

  12. Susan Reilly

    I agree! Good idea.

  13. Sandra Cenatiempo

    If I recall correctly, the town ordinances are strict regarding free standing signage. If you are an established business you have to fill out an application with a sketch of the property, how big the sign is going to be details as to where you are going to place the sign and you have to pay for the privilege of having a sign in front of your store on an island. If you place a sign without a permit; the town fines the business, picks the sign up and brings it to the dump. And this is for a temporary professionally made sign that you put out in the morning and bring in at the close of business. Kinda stinks that it’s ok to have trashy signs littering the Town of Westport and a business has to jump through hoops for their sign.

  14. Thank you for giving a voice to this out of control visual pollution/sign issue Dan. Like the excellent examples of selfish parking issues, can you please regularly blog photos of this growing problem until town enforcement engages? Fines prove effective for other pollution. Perhaps, like the “Sound Keeper”, we need a town “Sign Enforcement Cop”.

    • Perhaps the town can make this the Animal Control guys job. He doesn’t seem to do much other than drive his nice little van around . Called him several times about coyotes roaming around. They said it’s not their job! What does animal mean anyway??? I never see any dogs running around town not with their owners.

  15. Morley Boyd

    Not that it much matters but I’m pretty sure it is still illegal to affix anything to telephone poles.

  16. Regulating signs based on content just went down 9-0 at the SCOTUS. Maybe someone should pay attention before ranting about visual pollution. Any proposed regulation should be consistent with the recent SCOTUS decision.

    “The town of Gilbert, Arizona (or Town), has adopted a
    comprehensive code governing the manner in which people
    may display outdoor signs. Gilbert, Ariz., Land Development
    Code (Sign Code or Code), ch. 1, §4.402 (2005).1 The
    Sign Code identifies various categories of signs based on
    the type of information they convey, then subjects each
    category to different restrictions. One of the categories is
    “Temporary Directional Signs Relating to a Qualifying
    Event,” loosely defined as signs directing the public to a
    meeting of a nonprofit group. §4.402(P). The Code imposes
    more stringent restrictions on these signs than it does
    on signs conveying other messages. We hold that these
    provisions are content-based regulations of speech that
    cannot survive strict scrutiny.”