In Hobart, too many signs in plain view?
By Karen Caffarrini Post-Tribune correspondent March 23, 2014 6:48PM
Signs are posted on the southeast corner of 37th Avenue and Lake Park, a busy intersection in Hobart. | Karen Caffarini~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 25, 2014 6:14AM
HOBART — Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.
Mayor Brian Snedecor said he’s getting complaints from residents and local business owners that signs are cluttering easements along the streets and especially some of the main intersections in the city. He said some of the worst offenders are signs concerning foreclosures, loans and bad credit and the people installing them seldom approach city officials for approval first.
“They think easements are fair game,” Snedecor said.
He aired his concerns last week when a representative for a local church came before the Board of Public Works asking for permission to place six lawn signs in various easements throughout the city for 2 1/2 weeks.
Liz Thomas, representing Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, said the signs would announce a breakfast the church is holding on April 20.
Snedecor said the city would allow the church to put up banners on the fence at Hobart City Pool and the split rail fence at Festival Park for a specified amount of time as a replacement to the lawn signs.
City Planner Sergio Mendez said the two sites could become the places where residents would know to look for future Hobart events.
As another alternative, Police Chief Richard Zormier told Thomas that small lawn signs placed on private property, inside the sidewalks, would be just as effective as if they’re placed on city easements. And they would be legal.
“You wouldn’t need Board of Works approval,” Zormier said.
Board member Thomas Ehrhardt called the chief’s suggestion a good one. He said part of the flavor of a small community is announcing its local events.
Other communities have grappled with the influx of signs, which they say give the community a tacky appearance.
In Merrillville, Council President Carol Miano has complained of signs popping up all over town. She called them trashy looking.
Tyler Kent, Valparaiso’s planning director, said he hasn’t seen an influx of signs in that city this year, but then, he said, most right of ways have been under 4-feet of snow for the last several months.
“If I do see any signs, I just tear them down,” Kent said.