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Naperville
Thursday, April 25, 2024

Signs, signs, signs… Are seasonal political campaign signs properly placed?

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Above / This view of Arrowhead Hill, taken by John Colletti, is a memory of free speech that dates back eight years to 2015. Campaign signs posted on sledding hills located on Naperville Park District property are not allowed. (PN File Photo)

Update, March 25, 2023 / Early Voting began March 20 and political campaign signs have been springing up more than ever. In fact, signs were populating near the entrance to the Municipal Center to the point that a large sign is now up to remind hopefuls that no political campaigns signs are allowed in the area.

Early Voting is now taking place every day through April 3 and Consolidated Election Day is April 4. Thanks to all who post signs in the right places.

Voters headed into the Naperville Municipal Center to cast ballots will be greeted by an information sign designating a campaign-free zone, including a reminder that campaign signs are not allowed near the entrance.

Original Post, Feb. 16, 2023 / Signs around town support the fact that the Consolidated Election Day keeps getting closer. Tuesday, April 4, 2023, will be here before we know it.

Positively Naperville is a big proponent of freedom of speech, truth in advertising that supports local media, as well as the purchase of campaign signs, handouts and mailers from local printers that boost their coffers. However, complaints from candidates as well as local citizens citing illegal as well as stolen signs seem to be getting worse with every election.

When considering how many candidates have tossed their hats into the ring looking for local support, it’s no wonder that the landscape seems cluttered. And, believe it or not, some potential voters have told us that with the proliferation of signs, it’s tough to know when it’s time to vote early and/or on Consolidated Election Day.

In fact, some residents already have asked, “When IS the election?”

Perhaps signs that have the dates Early Voting for the Consolidated Election would be beneficial to help get out the vote.  Mail-in Voting begins Feb. 26. Early in-person voting begins March 20. And Election Day is April 4. (PN File Photo)

Others say they’ve never chosen a candidate because of their signs. Yet, some admit that illegal sign littering has been a good reason not to support someone. 

Some wonder if candidates who fail to follow the City’s ordinances are worthy of being elected.

One complainer asked: If a candidate can’t abide by the City’s sign ordinance, what other ordinances do they not follow?

Another voice noted times have changed since our spring consolidated elections were promoted with signs in front of local businesses. Many businesses no longer allow signs in their windows or around their parking lots. Where’s a legal place to plant signs?

And did you know? It’s unlawful for any individual to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign.

Early in-person voting is now in progress

All that said, we are grateful to all voters who aim to be informed, on a mission to elect qualified candidates by the close of election-day precincts at 7PM Tues., April 4.

Early in-person voting runs March 20 through April 3, 2023.

(Click here for a post with public meet & greet events and candidate forums as well as voter info from now through the Consolidated Election 2023. All candidates are welcome to submit public events. Events are not posted unless submitted and requested by host candidate.)

Thanks to all voters who plan to participate in the Illinois Consolidated Election where candidates are elected to positions that approve local budgets for schools, park districts and cities as well as set public policy and local tax levies.

Early in-person voting begins Mon., March 20, at the Naperville Municipal Center and polls will be open (8:30AM to 7PM weekdays & 9AM to 5PM weekends) every day through Mon., April 3. Polls on Election Day are open 6AM to 7PM Tues., April 4.

“Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.”                                    —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pay attention to the signs!

Years ago we used this image to promote paying attention to signs around town that promote public safety in the City’s parks, school drop-off zones, throughout downtown and along bike trails. Perhaps now the image works to remind folks to pay close attention to the signs that are properly placed with permission in private yards and businesses.

Among the most frequent feedback and queries PN receives year-round are in regard to illegally placed commercial signs—Realtor Open Houses, Movers, School Supplies Sales, Low Cost Painters, Going Out of Business Sales, Lawn Services, etc.—in public parkways and at busy intersections throughout the city.

We always appreciate signs that promote public safety when properly placed on private property.

Signs around town properly placed on private property are reminders to drive safely and that the speed limit in Naperville is 25 mph unless otherwise noted. School zones are slower. Major roadways through town may be higher.

Yet, in recent weeks, notifications and screen shots of campaign signs in illegal places are growing. And we’re mindful that some residents simply want to unload their complaints someplace where they hope they’ll be heard. We hear you.

Why not let the candidates’ campaign know you object to their not following the rules?

City procedures to handle illegally-placed signs

Anyone who regularly watches City Council meetings has been made aware that the City relies on “complaints” from local residents in order to take action. Complaints about errant signs fall into this category.

Think about it. Would you want the City to be paying staffers to drive around using taxpayer funds to look for illegally placed signs?

More than likely, not.

So it’s up to the local citizenry to report by phone or email the location of illegally-placed campaign, promotional or commercial signs in order for code enforcement to work.

  • Illegally placed signs in the city right-of-way will be removed without notice to the campaign and discarded.
  • Illegal signs (i.e. the size of the sign exceeds what the code allows) on private property will result in communication to the property owner requesting that the sign be removed in 48 hours.
  • Individuals and/or campaigns that continue to violate the ordinance may be issued citations.

To report campaign sign violations, call (630) 420-6100, option 3, or e-mail CodeEnforcement@naperville.il.us.

The City’s comprehensive sign code is titled “Street Graphics Control” and can be found in Chapter 16 of Title 6 of the Municipal Code.  

Again, campaign and commercial signage located in the public right-of-way is prohibited—the area between the sidewalk and the street as well as the parkway. Illegally placed signs in the right-of-way will be removed.

PN appreciates the assistance of Director of Transportation/Engineering/Development Bill Novack and Director of Communications Linda LaCloche at the City of Naperville for assistance in getting the bullets for this code enforcement information correct.

PN file photo shows a sign properly placed at the entrance to the Naperville Public Safety Center just off River Road.

Park District Property also is taboo for campaign signs

According to officials at the Naperville Park District, campaign signs are not permitted in Naperville parks where parks and park police staff will be on the lookout for illegal signs and remove them. 

Sign placement changes a bit on election day at polling places – and the Fort Hill Activity Center is one of those locations; signs are permitted with some caveats on Election Day.

Thanks to Director of Marketing and Communications Sameera Luthman for adding some specifics: The Park District’s Ordinance #641 states that signs are not allowed to be placed in parks or within the public right of ways around Park District parks and facilities.

Again, if promotional signs appear to be placed illegally, report them…

If Code Enforcement doesn’t hear from residents, the improperly placed signs will continue to remain planted in unsightly places, oftentimes creating unsafe distractions for drivers and violating local ordinances.

All cooperation will be appreciated where public safety matters most along local roadways.

Contact Code Enforcement at (630) 420-6111, option 3, or via CodeEnforcement@naperville.il.us.

Editor’s Addition / When you think about many of the challenges and issues in today’s news, this seems like small stuff. Yet, if we don’t pay attention locally, it’ll turn into something much bigger.

Thanks to all candidates who abide by local sign-placement and size-of-sign rules. Many voters are paying attention. 

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.
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