With this year’s primary election rapidly approaching (voters will get their first crack at candidates for everything from the school board to Congress on Tuesday, August 30) but that doesn’t mean that every municipality and district have the same rules when it comes to campaign signs. Inside the incorporated limits of the Town of Fort Myers Beach, for instance, signs are not permitted until 30 days before any election – meaning those our readers have noticed already cropping up in front of some local businesses and in neighborhood yards are subject to removal.
“Beach and Street Enforcement (B.A.S.E.) have been out patrolling this week and they are removing the signs they see and notifying the candidates’ headquarters as to the rules,” said Town Code Enforcement Officer Molly Jacobs.
Chapter 30 of the Town’s Land Development Code (LDC) deals specifically with signs. Campaign signs are mentioned in the definition for ‘election signs’, which reads as follows:
“A sign temporarily installed in the ground or attached to a building relating to the election of a person to a public office or relating to a matter to be voted upon at a federal, state or local election.”
Section 30-151(4) specifically defines the rules for election signs. Such signs can have a maximum area of four square feet, unless they are freestanding – in which case the maximum area is three square feet. In residential zoning districts, they are limited to one sign per ten linear feet of street frontage, and one sign per 20 feet in commercial zoning districts.
Section 30-151(4)c addresses the timing of when they may be placed: “Election signs may be erected no earlier than 30 days prior to the primary or general election to which they relate and shall be removed no later than 10 days after the election; provided, however, that an election sign erected prior to a primary election may remain posted continuously until ten days after the general election when the candidate referenced in the sign advances from the primary to the general election.”
This means that – on Fort Myers Beach – residents and business owners can begin showing support for their favorite candidate on Saturday, July 30.
Keri Hendry Weeg