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Wilson Realtor Signs Erroneusly Taken By City

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WILSON — A sign struggle in Wilson has realtors crying foul. The city started enforcing a new ordinance by taking down for-sale signs. The realtors say the city is wrong, and it appears that the city agrees.

The ordinance applies to non-profit signs, for bake sales and car washes and the like, which are placed within 5 feet of the side of the road. Thursday, enforcement of the law began, but instead city employees picked up more than 150 for-sale signs from front yards.

It was an honest mistake, but it created a big mess.

"Much to our total surprise, a significant number of real-estate signs were removed, and it was certainly not our intention to remove them," said city manager Ed Wyatt.

"And when those signs were just arbitrarily picked up and moved, it told a lot of folks their houses were not for sale. The problem we've had with is to find out which signs they removed, and how to put them back," said realtor and broker Don Evans.

After realizing the mistake, the city moved quickly and returned the signs within 24 hours. The signs were not supposed to be picked up. City workers were told to pick up non-profit signs, which distract drivers and block the view at major intersections.

Somewhere along the line the message was garbled.

"We're certainly very embarrassed that the signs were removed, and we're trying our very best today to deal with this the best way possible," said Wyatt.

The signs are all back or at least in the hands of the realtors, who say the city has been trying hard to correct the error.