Albemarle County is renewing their efforts to wipe out signs illegally posted in the highway right-of-way, they announced in a press release today. County law prohibits businesses from sticking signs up in the median of highways and along roadways—not only is it ugly litter, but they’re distracting to drivers, they block drivers’ line of sight at intersections, and each sign is an obstacle for VDOT crews when mowing along the roads. And, of course, they’re all trash—somebody has to pick them up and throw them away eventually, and that’s coming out of your and my tax dollars. The county first cracked down on them in 2007, then turned up the heat in 2009 after striking a deal with VDOT (who generally owns the land on which the signs are dumped) that would allow them to fine the sign spammers $100/apiece. Albemarle says that their 2009 effort paid off…for a while. Then the same companies went right back to sticking their signs up in the public right-of-way. The county is stepping up enforcement, effective immediately.
In my experience, the Mountain Kim Martial Arts (a chain that sells a sort of karate lite, for kids) is the worst offender in town—for years now they’ve put their signs up along school bus routes and near elementary schools, presumably to advertise directly to children. I’d love for media outlets to call some of the worst offenders and ask them why they feel that the law doesn’t apply to them. NBC-29 did that during the 2009 sweep, and some of the businesses actually complained that it wasn’t fair that they should have to pay to advertise legally.