Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Illegal signs in right-of-way

On the way to Crystal Lake during the past few days I have seen a proliferation of advertising signs on U.S. Highway 14 between Woodstock and Crystal Lake. No doubt there are spread out on other approaches to Crystal Lake, too.

These advertising signs are illegal. Period. So, why are they there?

They are there because nobody does anything about them.

McHenry County DOT is not going to pick them up, because they are on State highway property. IDOT is not going to pick them up because it doesn't have the manpower to do so. It's just too expensive to send two men and a truck out to collect them.

Why doesn't Illinois follow the plan implemented by Florida DOT? In Florida the Department of Transportation trains volunteers in the laws and authorizes them to remove these types of signs.

Illinois could go one step better and pay trained persons (contractors, not employees) to collect the signs. The trained person could document the illegal sign and its location, photograph it, and serve as complaining witness for a ticket to be issued to the offending advertiser.

Start fines at $50-100; more for repeat offenders. If there are 20 signs between Woodstock and Crystal Lake's western city limit, that would be $1,000 in fines (at the lower fine level). The trained person could send a letter and the Notice of Fine to the advertiser. If it didn't get paid, then off to court. Maybe even precede the Notice of Fine with one letter, giving the advertiser 24 hours to remove the signs.

This could be a nice little business for an entrepreneur.

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