Residents question council over political signsWhen it comes to signs in the right of way, it should be all or nothing — depending on whom you listen to.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
When it comes to signs in the right of way, it should be all or nothing — depending on whom you listen to.
A little over a week ago, some Red Wing residents became disgruntled after city officials confiscated their political signs.
City officials say they took the signs because they were placed in the city's right of way. Putting up signs on the city owned property violates a local ordinance.
The issue resurfaced during Monday's Red Wing City Council meeting.
A pair of annoyed residents asked the council why the city even bothered to pull the violating signs.
“It's a colossal waste of taxpayer money,” said Red Wing resident Amy Dewall.
Dewall was also skeptical that placing a sign in the right of way violates a city ordinance.
While city staff reiterated it is a violation, City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann did say the ordinance is confusing.
Dewall also said the city should've notified people their signs were in violation instead of removing them.
City officials have taken down political signs in previous election years, Kuhlmann said, but the city doesn't regularly remove other signs. To do so, Kuhlmann said, would be time consuming and costly.
But Council members Stephen Castner and Mike Schultz said if the city pulls political signs, it should pull all signs placed in the right of way regardless of intent.
“We got to be fair to all parties,” Schultz said.
Added Castner: "The fair way to do it is to take them all down.”
Castner said violators would eventually learn to keep their signs out of the right of way.
“We shouldn't have to do it too long before they'll figure it out,” he said after the meeting.
Mayor Donna Dummer and City Council President Carol Duff were absent from the meeting.