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Group turns focus on clutter of signs

| June 1, 2005 12:00 AM

A local group trying to clean up Libby's image is turning its attention to a hodgepodge of homemade signs advertising rummage sales, lost dogs and various special events.

"It's not that we want to be the bad guys," said Mark Epperson of Libby Revitalization Inc.'s ordinance committee. "We're trying to clean up the community and make it presentable, and we have this abuse."

Epperson said his committee is hoping to educate the public on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable when it comes to signs. The proliferation of signs, often posted on poles, "looks really tacky," he said.

"There are poles that are painted, and people use their duct tape or whatever to put up their signs, and they pull off the signs and there goes the paint," he said.

Putting signs on utility poles is "a no-no" that makes it hazardous for pole climbers, Epperson said.

"There are ordinances that specify where signs can and cannot be placed," he said.

The city and the county have their own regulations along with the state. State laws, which govern signs along state highways, place restrictions on advertising. Without a permit, it's illegal to place a sign advertising a product along a state highway, Epperson said.

"For example, there's a sign up by Asa Wood that has 'Coca-Cola' on it," he said. "That's illegal. That's not permitted by the state."

Another state law forbids the use of arrows on signs along the highway, Epperson said.

"People don't think about it, but an arrow indicates traffic flow," he said.

LRI's ordinance committee will be working with local law enforcement agencies on enforcement, Epperson said.

Epperson hopes people making signs pay attention to aesthetic issues as well as legal ones.

"I think the quality of the sign should be addressed," he said. "They should be presentable."

Epperson said he doesn't want to discourage yard sales or other events people want to advertise, but he wants to see things done the right way.

"When you drive into a town, those are things you notice," he said. "It says something about your town."