Tupelo wages war against illegal postings

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Hundreds of signs that once dotted the city slowly are vanishing as Tupelo cracks down on one of its most common code violations.
Commercial and political signs affixed on public rights of way are a no-no. But the city’s previously relaxed attitude on code enforcement caused a proliferation of these popular placards. That’s all changing now.
“I hadn’t been going after signs because of the economy, and because people were just trying to do business,” said Marilyn Vail of the Tupelo Development Services Department. “But now since there has been a public outcry, and the citizens are screaming code enforcement, this is No. 1 on my priority list.”
And it’s been a busy job with the state’s political season in full swing – campaign signs have popped up en masse at Crosstown and along other city rights of way as candidates try to woo voters.
Vail said she removed the signs from Crosstown on Wednesday morning. All legal political signs – those placed on private property – can remain up for five days after the election. After that, the city can grab them. It costs $5 per sign to retrieve them from the city.
Political candidates’ signs can be placed up to six months prior to an election, so anyone who heads to the upcoming runoff or November’s general election can still have signs displayed. However, those who lost on Tuesday need to have their signs down by Sunday.
Commercial signs also have been targeted. Among the most common offenses are job-employment announcements and hair-salon feather promos.
The effort is part of Tupelo’s months-long code enforcement blitz, which kicked off in July and will scan every property within the city limits for possible violations. It includes both commercial and residential lots.
“I think signs are definitely a part of what we need to be focusing on,” said Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell. “They’ve already been working on South Gloster Street, and the result is a much better-looking area.”
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com