Perry trustees to drop political sign limit

PERRY TWP. -Trustees dropped a bid to allow the posting of political signs earlier, saying they’re eliminating the time limit altogether due to free speech considerations.

Trustee Don Kendrick explained the Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office sent a letter advising them their proposed resolution to allow signs to be put out 60 days before an election instead of limiting it to 30 days was a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

“You can’t regulate when signs go up and down,” Fiscal Officer Susan Johnston said they were told.

The trustees had been talking about giving more time for the posting of political signs since January, with a public hearing held in June regarding that zoning proposal and one to fix an omission regarding fences in the R1A residential zoned area.

Kendrick, who also serves as the township zoning officer, had explained people were voting before candidates were allowed to put their signs out due to early voting, so to be fair, he thought they should extend the time period.

The proposals were shown to the prosecutor’s office and then the letter was received. No time limit will be in place.

The trustees on Monday followed through with the fence fix, ruling that in the other zoning areas, the zoning book noted a fence can’t be placed any closer than 1 foot from the property line and be no higher than 6 feet tall. The fence rule wasn’t included in the zoning area for R1A residential, which Kendrick theorized was a typographical error.

A joint meeting of the township zoning board and the board of zoning appeals will be held to go over the zoning book before it’s updated to reflect any recent changes. The book was last printed in 1997.

In other business, the trustees gave the go-ahead to order a new police cruiser through the state purchasing program. They had already appropriated $30,000 for the new cruiser and the equipment to outfit it back in June. They also appropriated $6,500 for the purchase and installation of a new motor in a 2008 Dodge Charger police cruiser to replace the motor which blew up recently.

The trustees also:

– declared a property at 1141 Prospect St. as a nuisance due to high weeds

– received the 2013-2014 salt contract at a price of $36.45 with up to 350 ton ordered, but with the ability to order up to 525 tons at that price if additional salt is needed

– announced 37 zoning permits issued so far this year, with four in August so far and nine in July.

Trustee Chairman Cliff Mix also said he met with Salem Mayor John Berlin and his road supervisor over the issue of flooding on the lower part of South Lincoln Avenue at Chestnut Grove Road and wanted to thank him.

“They’re looking into their part of the water situation,” he said, noting the township was working with the city on the problem.