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Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted June 29, 2023

Blockin’ out the scenery

Breakin’ my mind

- The Five Man Electrical Band 1971

Buy this, don’t buy that. Can’t you read the sign? Join, join, gotta join today! The pre-sale rates are the best that you will find. Lose weight, get in shape, can you even read these signs?

Temporary signs at the corner of routes 206 and 518 in Montgomery Township in June.

Temporary Roadside Signs

Some Montgomery Township roadsides are covered in “temporary” signs, including signs for events that are well past due. In addition to blocking the scenery, they distract drivers’ eyes from the road, according to studies.

According to ScienceDirect, an online source for scientific research, “Driver inattention and distraction are recognized as two of the most critical factors for road safety worldwide. While roadside advertising is often identified as a potential source of distraction, it has received less attention compared to other types of distractions such as texting or calling while driving.”

Township Administrator Lori Savron says, many of the Montgomery Township signs are put out illegally. “We collect them as we can,” Savron says. “We go out maybe every other week, or every three weeks.” “With the work load the zoning office has right now, with zoning permits and violations, they are very busy.”

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A Montgomery Township ordinance permits roadside signs. A $10 permit is necessary for any temporary sign displayed, placed, or erected in the township. “Basically, the signs are not allowed in the public right of way. You really should have the permission of the property owner. And, signs cannot be put on public property. “We try to give some leeway to the boy scouts’ strawberry festival, or other kinds of local groups. But, there are a lot of signs. It’s never ending.”

A 30-page Q&A created by the economic development committee is available online and covers what is allowed, and what is not. Permit applications are available at the zoning office in the township municipal center. “During COVID, we were a little more relaxed regarding business lawn signs in our shopping areas,” Savron added. “Businesses were struggling. “Post COVID, we have started working with the property managers to reduce temporary signs back to our normal level.” “If you are a business, there is never enough advertising,” she added. “And, our strip centers are set back from the road. Sometimes drivers don’t know what businesses are back there.”

Montgomery Police Lt. Tom Frascella says, “We miss having Walt Raymond. He was a long time resident who passed away [in 2005]. I think collecting signs was a little bit of a hobby that turned into a job for him.”


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