- Associated Press - Friday, January 1, 2016

MONROE, La. (AP) - Every election season sees its share of political signs sprouting up along area roads.

The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/1R23kqR ) March’s Monroe municipal election promises to be no exception with mayoral and city council candidates seeking to get their names out in the public.

“The sign issue comes in waves,” Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office Code Enforcement Director Sgt. Wayne Heckford said.

Heckford said the upcoming local elections are followed by tax season, where signs offering fast service and quick turnaround for refunds begin to emerge. Late next year, the presidential election will likely bring a flow of campaign signs to intersections and empty lots. While most sign placements are legal, some are not.

“Each jurisdiction has their own code. There are a few little differences you’ll see in enforcement of those guidelines,” Heckford said.

An ordinance adopted in 2012 by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury covers “all signs, posters or banners, including but not limited to signs less than 6 square feet in size and signs used to identify candidates in political campaigns” that are in the public right of way.

In the parish, violators can be immediately issued a citation without warning. There are exceptions that include political, nonprofit and garage sale signs. In most of those cases, a violator may be given five days to remove the sign.

A Monroe city ordinance code addresses prohibited signs in zoning districts. Section 37-108 cites 11 restrictions on the types of signs commonly associated with the placement issue. Chiefly among those listed, a prohibition of signs placed on public property or any public right of way. Signs are allowed on private property with the owner’s consent.

“Some see it as open space is open game,” Keep Monroe Beautiful Director Gregg Smith said.

He said city workers are still picking up signs from November’s election.

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Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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