Vandals aren't to blame for the disappearance of political signs from utility poles and street posts around Carson City. This time, it's the city that is responsible.
Sean Foley, of the city's planning department, wrote the Ron Paul Campaign on Friday notifying leaders that signs are not to be affixed to trees, shrubs, traffic control signs or support structures, utility poles, or any structure within the public right of way.
Along with the e-mailed "Notice of Violation and Order to Comply," Foley included photos of signs.
"We pull signs all the time out of the right of way," Foley said. "We waste a lot of staff time going to pick up signs. We're just trying to head it off at the pass before the primary and general elections get going."
Foley said the planning department staff tasked with aiding the city's code enforcement office probably spends a full day of staff time a month removing signs from the right of way.
"That's an estimate," he said. "I've never tried to add it up."
Planning staff assists the code enforcement staff with sign complaints to help reduce the burden there where as many as 80 calls come in a week on sign and other issues, Foley said.
The notice sent Friday states that failure to remove the signs or future placement of signs can result in a citation and fines. Though Foley said the city's never had to push it that far.
"Usually the candidates or the campaigns are cooperative and we just have to tell them to take the signs down," Foley said. "Usually that will work."
Political signs may be posted on private property with the owner's permission. But there are a few rules for those too:
• Sign area shall not exceed 32 square feet.
• The height of a freestanding sign shall not exceed 8 feet.
• Political signs shall be removed by the candidate within 14 days following the election.