(Caption Caption – Kingman Planning and Zoning Division Principal Planner Rich points at some of the numerous political signs that were removed by city officials for violating state and city regulations. Many of the political candidates violated the city’s sign free zone and their signs were confiscated by city officials. The biggest offenders of the sign free zone regulation in Kingman were Janice Palmer who is running for Mohave County District 1 Supervior, and Paul Mosley and Jennifer Jones who are both running for Arizona State Representative. Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City and Kingman officials, in addition to Department of Arizona of Transportation (ADOT), are actively driving throughout their respective areas looking for illegally placed political signs. Photo By Butch Meriwether)

Butch-For-Blog-113x150The great missing political signage caper has been solved.

Unlike what many people vying for the various political offices think – that their rivals and/or competition have been removing their signs, it can be no further from the truth.

However, that doesn’t mean there may not have been unscrupulous candidates yanking up some of their opponents’ signs, but for the most part, it is the various cities and state.

Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City and Kingman officials, in addition to Department of Arizona of Transportation (ADOT), are actively driving throughout their respective areas looking for illegally placed political signs.

Campaign sign regulations vary depending upon the city, county and/or state. Some people believe the campaign sign regulations are confusing, but if they take the time to read the various Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) and local city ordinances, they will actually realize the regulations are actually extremely simplistic as to the locations political signs are allowed and in some cases, not allowed.

There is A.R.S. 1019 that spells out everything a person needs to know about political signs, printed materials, tampering and classification.

It is a Class 2 misdemeanor (A.R.S. 1019 (A) for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office or knowingly remove, alter or deface any political mailers, handouts, flyers or other printed materials of a candidate that are delivered by hand to a residence for the period commencing forty-five days before a primary election and ending seven days after the general election.

Another interesting tidbit; A.R.S. (C) (3) states signs are not to be placed in a location that is hazardous to public safety, obstructs clear vision in the area or interferes with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (42 United States Code sections 12101 through 12213 and 47 United States Code sections 225 and 611).

A.R.S. 16-1019 (F) states that a municipalities can determine that based on a predominance of commercial tourism, resort and hotel uses within the zone the placement of political signs within the rights-of-way in the zone will detract from the scenic and aesthetic appeal of the area within the zone and deter its appeal to tourists. Not more than two zones may be identified within a municipality.

The aforementioned statutes might sound like a bunch of gobbledygook as it relates to sign free zones, but it isn’t if people take the time to read the statutes and review the various municipal codes.

Mohave County, Lake Havasu City, Kingman and Bullhead City goes by the regulations spelled out in the A.R.S. in regard to campaign signs, except for the caveat that they do not allow signs to be placed on county and municipality properties. However, they do allow campaign signs and magnetic placards attached to vehicles to park in the various city and county parking lots while the drivers are conducting business there.

The signs may be placed on private property within the various cities and county only with the owner’s permission.

All political signs displayed within Mohave County must have the name and telephone number of the candidate or campaign contact person.

Kingman official say they have two sign free zones. No political signs may be placed in the city’s right of way along Stockton Hill Road from Gordon Drive intersection, south to the intersection and connection with Andy Devine Avenue (Historic Route 66).

Kingman’s largest sign free zone encompasses Andy Devine Road from the intersection of Michael Street to the intersection of Grandview Avenue and includes the streets in old downtown Kingman north of the railroad tracks, and also stretches east to include Hualapai Mountain Road, from the intersection and connection of Andy Devine Road to the most easterly city limits. Even though there are sign free zones in Kingman, it does not preclude private property owners and business owners from placing campaign signs in the yards and/or on their business properties.

Bullhead City sign regulations also state all signs shall not constitute a traffic hazard and are not allowed within the public right-of-way on a street light pole, traffic signal pole and/or utility pole.

Lake Havasu City requires all political candidates to purchase a “sign permit” prior to them placing any of their signs within the city limits. The $65.81non-refundable fee covers political signs posted within the city limits. The city also has a sign free zone: on McCulloch Boulevard to Acoma Boulevard; on the entire island; on the London Bridge; and parts of Lake Havasu Avenue. Furthermore, permits are required for political signs even if they are placed on private and business properties.

“Campaign signs aren’t permitted in any ADOT right of ways (state highways or routes, overpasses over those state highways and/or routes), Arizona Department of Transportation Assistant Communications Director for Public Information Steve Elliott said. “ADOT maintenance personnel may remove them and if several signs are removed, ADOT will typically contact the respective campaign representative to let them know that signs may not be placed within the right of way.”

The areas controlled by ADOT, including U.S. Highways 68, 93 and 95, and Interstate 40 within Mohave County, ADOT does not allow campaign signs to be placed on them and their right away areas. According to ADOT officials, if candidate signs are removed because they violate regulations, they can retrieve removed signs at the closest ADOT maintenance facility or district office.

All political signs must be removed within 15 days following the primary or special election, except the successful candidates may leave them in their present location until 15 days after the general election, at which time the signs must be removed. The person, political party or parties responsible for the erection or distribution of any such sign shall be jointly and individually liable for their removal.

The best rule of thumb for candidates is to check with the cities, county and state in which they want to install a political campaign sign. A little research will save them time of having to go and retrieve a sign from the authorities who removed it.

For more detailed information about political sign regulations throughout Mohave County and/or to retrieve signs that were removed for being illegal, contact: Kingman’s Development Services office at 310 N. Fourth Street or call (928) 753-8353; Lake Havasu City Community Services Department at 2330 McCulloch Boulevard or by calling them at (928) 453-4148; Bullhead City Hall at 2355 Trane Road or call (9328) 763-9400; Mohave County Public Works Department at 3715 Sunshine Drive in Kingman or call (928) 757-0910; and ADOT at 100 N 15th Ave., Suite 401, Phoenix, Ariz., or call their main telephone number of (602) 542-1500 and/or their Mohave County district office at 3660 E. Andy Devine Ave., Kingman, Ariz., or call (928) 681-6019.