[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Robinson as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Political Signs
[Adopted 5-14-2001 by Ord. No. 8-2001 (Ch. 19, Part 1, of the 1989 Code)]
The following words and phrases, as used in this article, shall have the meaning ascribed herein, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- POLITICAL CAMPAIGN SIGN
- Any sign urging the election or defeat of any candidate seeking any political office or urging the passage or defeat of any ballot measure, but does not mean or include any billboard owned or maintained by a commercial firm or advertising company.
- PUBLIC PROPERTY
- All publicly owned property, including streets, rights-of-way, easements and everything affixed thereto and thereover.
- Includes any bill, poster, placard, handbill, flyer, painting, sign or written matter in words, symbols or pictures or any combination thereof.
- The Township of Robinson, a first class township, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
- ZONING OFFICER
- The Township Code Enforcement Officer, Zoning Officer and/or the Code Enforcement Officer/Zoning Officer's authorized agent.
Posting on public right-of-way prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to post a political campaign sign on or over any public property in the Township.
Posting on utility poles prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to post a political campaign sign on any public utility pole or other public utility structure or to post, paint or otherwise affix such signs to trees, rocks or other natural features located within the Township's right-of-way.
Size restrictions. It shall be unlawful for any person to erect any political campaign sign which exceeds six square feet, and it shall be unlawful to erect political campaign signs on any one lot, the total message area of which exceeds 18 square feet.
It shall be unlawful for any person to post a political campaign sign more than 30 days prior to the election for which the sign is posted, and it shall be unlawful to fail to remove a political campaign sign within 12 days after the election for which the sign was posted.
The erector of such signs, or an authorized agent of the political party or candidate, shall apply for and obtain a permit from the Township for the erection of such signs. At the time of application, he shall deposit with the Township a sum, as adopted by resolution from time to time by the Board of Commissioners and on file in the Township offices, as a guaranty that all signs will be removed promptly within 12 days after the date of the election to which such sign relates. If such signs are not removed at the end of the twelve-day period, the Township shall have them removed and keep the full sum deposited to reimburse the expense which the Township incurred.
The Zoning Officer is hereby authorized to remove any political campaign sign found posted within the corporate limits of the Township when such sign is in violation of the provisions of this article.
For the purpose of removing campaign signs, the Zoning Officer is empowered to enter upon the property where the signs are posted and is further authorized to enlist the aid or assistance of any other department of the Township and to secure legal process to the end that all such signs shall be expeditiously removed from any property where posted.
When the Zoning Officer finds that a political campaign sign has been posted in violation of this article or without the payment of the permit fee set forth in § 226-4 of this article, the Zoning Officer shall attempt to contact the candidate, committee or person responsible for the posting of such sign. If the Zoning Officer is successful, he or she shall give 24 hours' advance telephone notice of the Township's intention to remove the sign and indicate the nature of the violation and the location of the sign. If after such notification the illegal sign remains in violation, the Zoning Officer shall remove said sign and shall store it in an authorized safe location. If after reasonable diligence the Zoning Officer is unable to contact the candidate, committee or person responsible for the sign, the Zoning Officer may dispense with the notice requirement and remove the sign, storing it in an authorized, safe location.
If the Zoning Officer removes any political campaign sign, the Zoning Officer shall keep a record of the location from which the sign was removed. The Zoning Officer shall store the political campaign sign in an authorized, safe location for at least 90 days and shall immediately notify, by telephone, fax or other communication, the candidate, committee or person responsible for the posting of the sign, indicating the fact of removal and the location where it may be retrieved. If the Zoning Officer is unable to make telephone contact, he shall provide written notice if the address of the candidate, committee or person is known or can be ascertained. The Zoning Officer shall return any political campaign sign upon the payment of the fee provided in § 226-4.
The Township shall be entitled to receive a sum, as adopted by resolution from time to time, by the Board of Commissioners and on file in the Township offices, for every political campaign sign removed by the Zoning Officer for which no permit had been obtained, to cover the expense of removal, notice and storage. In cases where unusual effort is needed to remove a sign, such as the cutting or removal of supporting structures, use of aerial devices, towing or trailer signs or other unusual situations, the Township shall collect from the person responsible a sum sufficient to cover the costs and hourly wages so utilized.
In a campaign for political office, the candidate for such office shall be deemed the person responsible for the posting of political campaign signs unless he first notifies the Township Zoning Officer of another person who is responsible. In such cases, the candidate shall provide the name, address, telephone number and signed consent of such other responsible person. In a campaign regarding a ballot measure, the president of the committee supporting or opposing such ballot measure shall be deemed responsible, in the manner described above. The candidate or, in the case of the ballot measure, the committee president or other responsible person, if so designated, shall be liable to pay any fees or costs for the removal and storage of illegal signs as set forth herein. Further, such candidate, committee president or other designated person shall be subject to prosecution for any violation of this article. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to make any person liable, civilly or criminally, for any sign posted by persons unknown to him or her or by a person over whom he or she has no control.
Political campaign signs in violation of this article are hereby declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated by the Township. The collection of removal fees shall not preclude the Township from prosecuting any person for violating this article.
The Township Zoning Officer is hereby authorized and empowered to revoke any permit issued by him or her pursuant to this article or any preceding sign ordinance upon failure of the holder of such permit to comply with any provision of this article.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall, upon summary conviction, be subject to a fine of not more than $600 for each and every offense, plus costs of prosecution for each offense and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment in the County jail for a term not to exceed 30 days.