Some Lexington County signs may escape crackdown

tflach@thestate.comMay 12, 2013 

A few signs may escape a plan taking shape to reduce the clutter of temporary ads along Lexington County roads.

Some of Lexington’s nine County Council members are inclined to ease restrictions for one-time events – such as yard sales, lost pets, church bazaars and birthday parties – from new controls under consideration.

“Those have their place,” Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat said.

County planners want council members to outline how long those types of signs should be allowed to stand.

The request comes as county and municipal leaders work on common limits to reduce confusion about what kinds of temporary signs are permissible and how long they can stay up.

Interest in new standards arose after changes in times for national, statewide, county and municipal ballots produced annual campaigns, and as more signs promoting new Lexington County neighborhoods sprouted.

There also is more uniformity in current guidelines of the county and its 13 municipalities than thought initially, county planning director Charlie Compton said.

“Very little will have to change,” he said.

Changes under consideration could push signs well off roads – possibly 50 feet except in front yards of homes – while setting limits on sizes in residential and commercial areas. The plan also could restrict how long the signs may stay up after an event. Depending on the community, signs now are supposed to be taken down no later than two weeks after the event.

County leaders plan to work with political groups, developers, real estate sellers and business organizations to make sure interests who put up many of the signs know what the new rules are after adoption.

The biggest challenge in policing problems will be in unincorporated areas that compose 84 percent of the 750-square-mile county, Compton said.

Signs that pop up in the wrong setting always will be a problem, but the restrictions in the works seem headed “in the right direction,” Councilman Jim Kinard said.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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