The City of Harrodsburg will not remove any action about political signs this year. That’s according to City Attorney Norrie Currens, who addressed the issue at the Harrodsburg City Commission meeting on Monday, Aug. 28.
City officials say they have received complaints about political signs. Signs should not be put up until Oct. 1 within city limits according to the Harrodsburg Zoning Ordinance, which states “Temporary signage of three-square feet or smaller placed on or after the first day of October and removed by November 15.”
The city received complaints about political signage last year after some candidates put their signs up ahead of the deadline.
The ordinance sets a season for campaign signs during the primary season from April 15 to the last day of May and for the general election from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15. Mercer County has fewer restrictions than the City of Harrodsburg, according to the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Planning and Zoning office. The county zoning ordinance reads: “No political signs shall be posted in any place or manner that is destructive to public property upon posting or removal.”
This year, some candidates for the mayoral race and some supporters in the governor’s race have jumped the gun again, but Currens said the city will not take any action.
“Political speech and political signs are protected under the constitution,” Currens said Monday. She said the existing ordinance, which was amended in 2020, may not be narrowly tailored in respect to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona.
“We will not be addressing any political signs,” Currens said.
Election season always brings complaints about campaign signs as well as complaints about their removal and vandalism. However, not every sign being removed is an example of dirty politics. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews will remove illegally placed items along state maintained right of way areas. No signage is allowed on right-of-ways for U.S. and Kentucky routes other than official highway signs. Campaign signs must be placed beyond right of way limits.
For roads with a right of way fence, no signs may be attached. The restriction also includes signage for yard sales and real estate advertising.
In addition, it is illegal to attach items such as flyers, posters, balloons or streamers to stop signs, highway markers or any other road sign or utility pole, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Removed items are taken to the county highway maintenance facility and held for a month. Unclaimed materials will be trashed or recycled. Questions related to legal and illegal sign placement can be directed to the KYTC District 7 office in Lexington at 859-246-2355.