Sunday, May 27, 2007

More on Real Estate Signs

This week-end I counted 262 illegal real estate advertising signs along Route 120 and Route 47 within five miles of Woodstock. 23 different developers had signs out. Seven developers accounted for 50% of the signs. The biggest offenders?

Neumann Homes 22 8.4%
KB Homes 21 8.0%
Railway Estates 20 7.6%
Epcon Homes 19 7.3%
Kirk Homes 19 7.3%
Ponds of Bull Valley 17 6.5%
Ryland Homes Bryn Mawr 14 5.3%

What amazes me is that in about three years of complaints to the McHenry County Planning & Development Department, there has been no meaningful action to halt the illegal placement of these signs. Every Friday night they magically sprout along the rights-of-way and by some mysterious act they disappear on Sunday night.

My viewpoint is that the developers know that the signs are being placed illegally (at their direction and expense). When a key person at the Planning & Development Department wrote to me that developers take them down on Sunday night because they just want them up on week-ends to attract the attention of motorists driving around looking at new houses, I laughed so hard I almost had to go to the hospital. Yeah, sure. That’s right. That makes sense. You bet. Incur the expense of putting them out and taking them in, and then not leave them up for commuters to see during the week, who might like to shorten their commute by buying one of the new houses? Har-har-har.

Now the Planning Committee of the McHenry County Board is giving a little attention to these illegal signs. But is it giving enough attention? Wouldn’t the solution be for the Committee to direct the head of the Department to get rid of those signs? Sounds pretty simple to me. The law already exists. All that is needed is for someone to take a deep breath and drop the hammer.

Two letters to developers would take care of the problem.

The first letter could explain the problem, the law, the violation, and ask the developer to cease putting his signs in the highway right-of-way. If he doesn’t cease, the County will remove them and bill him for the expense of doing so.

The second letter could inform the developer how many signs were removed and enclose the bill for, say, $25.00 per sign.

This week-end there were 262 signs just on Route 120 for five miles northeast of Woodstock and on Route 47 for five miles south of Woodstock. Fines of $6,550 (262 x $25) should cover three hours of overtime for 2-3 County employees in a truck and two hours of secretarial time, plus $9.43 worth of postage.

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