Saturday, December 3, 2011

Group wants legislation to curb illegal signs

From the Queens Tribune:

Make $50 an hour working from home. Get cash for that old car. Free iPads. Get a free estimate for new windows!

Consider it a more traditional form of spam. On the borough’s telephone poles, lampposts, traffic lights, elevated train structures and even road signs, illegal advertisements promising a good deal or promoting a political candidate or new musician, have become a symbol of New York City life, and has led to the infamous “Post No Bills” warning on scaffolding at construction sites.

But even after the yard sale is over, the lost dog is found, or that mystery gold buyer is no longer buying, rusty staples remain imbedded in the telephone poles, and the glue from the tape has done its damage to lampposts. According to city law, it is illegal to post any type of flyer, whether a commercial ad or a lost dog poster, on any city-owned structure or tree. Now, the indecorous-looking signs are a target of a crackdown by the Dept. of Sanitation looking to get rid of the marketing eyesores that often damage city property.

On Nov. 21, Sanitation enforcement agents removed dozens of illegal signs in Ozone Park, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill in what was called “Operation Sign Off.”

From the Queens Chronicle:

Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association wrote a letter this week to Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), asking them to support changes to city law that would allow private citizens’ testimony to be used in prosecuting individuals or businesses who illegally hang signs on telephone poles, street lights and trees.

According to the Sanitation Department, the city cannot currently prosecute those responsible for hanging the signs if a resident takes down the paper because only a sworn statement by a city official, such as a sanitation worker, can serve as evidence.

WRBA members pointed out that city officials cannot take down the signs as quickly as residents, who pass by them far more often than sanitation workers.


Anonymous said...

force liu to pay his thousands of dollars in illegal campaign poster fines ,now . his donors have the money.

dept. of finance agents should go to his fund raisers until the election is over.

now would'nt that make news ?

Anonymous said...

These signs are really starting to get out of control. They are starting to be put up almost on every corner. The only way we can get rid of them is to report them to sanitation and let them get fines.

Anonymous said...

They are actually using utility trucks to hang signs high up on poles so they can't be reached. How bold. Time for new legislation!

Anonymous said...

Last weekend a group of volunteers tore down 70 signs along Queens Blvd...and that was only around Elmhurst!

Woodhaven Residents Block Association said...

Our feeling is that there's no one, single approach to this problem. Out first approach is that if it can be reached, we're going to take it down. And we call the number on the sign, tell them we took it down, and tell them if they come back we'll take it down again. We also advise them of the fines and penalties they face.

If it can't be reached, we report it to DSNY and monitor the sign to ensure it comes down in a timely manner.

Up until now, this has been successful. When our electeds were looking for signs to tear down, there were only 4 in Woodhaven and we had held off on taking those 4 down because we knew they were coming in with DSNY.

Currently, DSNY regulations state that a sign has to be witnessed by a DSNY enforcement officer before a ticket can be written.  We feel that if citizens take down signs and provide evidence of their existence, that should be sufficient in order to process a fine.

Ed Wendell

Anonymous said...

The fines for these signs are $75 except if on a tree it is $150. The city should raise the fines to at least $250 per sign. This way it can be more of a deterrent. Also we could get more money for the city by not taxing the residents more.

Anonymous said...

To Woodhaven Block residents association poster:

You have a good idea, but here in College Point they are somehow putting these signs very high up, at a minimum 15-20+ feet on the lightpoles. Even with a ladder joe citizen will not be able to reach that. I rarely see ones at a reachable height, otherwise I would take them down myself.

Also the day after the signs are reported and taken down by the city 2 more pop up in the same location. They don't seem to care its illegal or about getting a ticket. The only way to stop this nonsense is like another poster said, new stricter legislation.

Queens Crapper said...

Levying fines for this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead the city would rather target shoppers who got back to the meter a minute late.

Anonymous said...

"Out of shape? Try kickboxing."
We should all be vocally boycotting tiger shulman's karate.

Woodhaven Residents Block Association said...

"The only way to stop this nonsense is like another poster said, new stricter legislation. "

Again, our belief is that there is no "only way" --

There is a comprehensive approach that involves numerous methods. Those that put up these signs are flexible -- our response must be every bit as flexible.

Anonymous said...

This is why we need Matt "Equality"Silvetstein for City council
debra markell please help us the community needs him to to fight corruption
please as a new yorker i beg u

Anonymous said...

Queens has become one giant billboard of crap!

Anonymous said...

@Woodhaven Residents: I don't blame you, but there are problems with just anyone being able to testify that a sign was up in order to get someone fined. Unfortunately, there are malicious people out there who, due to whatever mental or emotional issue, harbor irrational feelings of jealousy or rage at their neighbor. Your idea opens up the possibility that a person would make up a sign with their neighbor's phone number and get them fined by the Sanitation department.

Woodhaven Residents Block Association said...

@Anonymous regarding a malicious person making up a sign with their neighbor's phone number on it . . .

What's stopping them from doing that now? Nothing. I do not believe that the change we're proposing would have any effect on that.

In fact, the change we're proposing would have the party complaining about the sign providing sworn testimony and photographic evidence.

Is the malicious person in your example going to go as far as giving sworn testimony to get at their neighbor? They're better off now when they can post signs and report them anonymously, no?

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts -- here and in e-mail. It is greatly appreciated.

Ed Wendell
Woodhaven Residents Block Association