Cary Couple Cannot 'Sell' Town on 'For Sale By Owner' Signs
Posted June 6, 1999
CARY — ACarycouple says the town is making it difficult for them to sell their house. It seems the town has a problem with their "For Sale By Owner" signs.
Most people have heard about Cary's strict sign ordinance. It is an effort to preserve the town's beauty and keep it free of clutter. But what about signs placed on private property?
Many people would think they would be exempt from the law, but they are not.
216 Trillingham Lane is "For Sale by Owner." It sits on a cul-de-sac which makes it desirable if potential buyers can find it.
"We advertise in the "For Sale by Owner Magazine," and some people see that. But the best way to get people back to your house is to be able to put signs out on the street directing the people back to your house," said homeowner Jim Wilson.
That is why Wilson and his wife, Brenda, were stunned a couple of weekends ago, when the fire department took down the signs they had placed along the road. This past weekend, they tried another tactic.
"I went to the neighbors and asked them, and I put them over in their yard on private property, and the signs were still taken," said Wilson.
Cary zoning officials say the problem is not where the Wilsons placed their signs but the signs themselves.
"An off-premise sign directing people to another property is not permitted, whether the signs directing you are on private property or in the right of way or on a telephone pole or whatever," explained Jeff Ulma, director of zoning and planning.
Zoning officials say all department staffs have been instructed to remove illegal signs if they happen to see them while they are out.
WRAL found the Wilsons' signs in the back of an official town truck.
The Wilsons were thrilled to get them back even though they think it is a waste of taxpayer money to hire people to take them down.
"But these are ten bucks a pop. You've saved me $20. Bless your heart," said Wilson.
Unfortunately, the only thing they can do is put them in their yard unless they want to risk being fined.
"So I don't know what we're going to do. We're kind of at our wits' end," said Wilson.
The Wilsons think at the very least they should be allowed to put out signs on the weekends.
Zoning officials say that is one of the proposed changes to the ordinance that will go before town council members this summer.