It’s political sign season: What are the county’s rules?

  • Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lindsay Street/Independent Signs like these seen in Goose Creek for its city election April 8 could soon be sprouting up in unincorporated Berkeley County.

Brace yourself, Berkeley County. Political signs are about to sprout up faster than dandelions in a heat wave.

Every election season, Planning Director Eric Greenway fields complaints about signs going up too soon or in the wrong place. During the March 24 meeting of council, Greenway presented information to the council to refresh the public on the county’s ordinances.

Political signs can go up in unincorporated Berkeley County 45 days out from an election, including special elections and primaries, according to Greenway. Those signs must endorse a specific candidate or a specific referendum position when placed in the public right-of-ways near roadways, he said.

The 2013 special election for U.S. Congressional District 1 plywood signs with ambiguous references to electing now-Rep. Mark Sanford over his opponents in a public right-of-way are an example of what the county ordinances do not allow, he said. The sign’s materials and non-specific message violate county ordinances. Those wishing to erect plywood or non-specific signs may do so on private property and adhere to setback requirements, Greenway said.

Signs must be removed after the election, unless that candidate or ballot referendum is in a follow-up election within 45 days.

For the June 10 Republican primary in the county, signs for those county and state seats could appear as soon as April 25.

Most municipalities regulate political signs as well. For example, in Goose Creek and Moncks Corner, the ordinances say signs can only be placed in right-of-ways within 30 days of an election.

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