Local News

Citizens Group Goes After Signs On Roadways

Posted October 7, 2004

— Election signs are supposed to be on private property by permission, not in public right-of-ways. Even though many are found there, some people are not happy about them.

A citizens group called

Citizens Against Portable Signs On Rights-Of-Way

wants to put an end to them.

"I'm an equal opportunity harasser. I'm going after everybody," said Lee Swearingen, who opposes the location of the signs. "If you violate the law, if you put these signs on the highway where they are not supposed to be, then you have to deal with me because I can no longer not see it. I can't drive down the road and not see it."

The group is not just targeting election signs. The group also plans to go after real estate and apartment signs across the area. The group's Web site includes a Hall of Shame section, a site map as well as contact information.

Swearingen said political season really springs him into action.

"I've confronted candidates, walked right up to them and told them this is what your people are doing with your signs," Swearingen said. "Now, this has been brought to your attention. I expect you to do something about it. They don't because they don't care."

The signs may be an issue in Raleigh, but not Cary. The town has some of the tightest regulations in the Triangle.

"We have standards for number of signs, height of signs, area of the sign and where they can be place," Cary planning director Jeff Ulma said.

Even on private property, Cary residents can only have one sign per race or per issue.

Officials with the state Department of Transportation said they do not have enough workers to regulate the signs.

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