During the March 26 Westfield City Council meeting, council members approved a right-of-way sign ordinance that mirrors Hamilton County’s ordinance that passed in February.
Following the county’s recent ordinance, commercial and non-commercial signs are prohibited from the public right-of-way. Violators are subject to a $500 fine. The Westfield City Council opted to enact the ordinance for the City of Westfield as well.
“The county accounts for about half of our land mass, and it seems to me it makes sense for us to adopt an ordinance that is very similar to that which the county has passed, and that would require unified enforcement by both the county and the city and become aligned with our legislature,” Council President Jim Ake said.
Ake said real estate companies seem to be the primary entities affected by the ordinance, but that MIBOR and BAGI informed the city the ordinance wouldn’t affect they way they conduct business. Ake also mentioned that political signs were in abundance because of the upcoming election.
The ordinance was originally passed by the county because of concern about driver safety and signs clogging roadways possibly limiting sight.
Council member Cindy Spoljaric raised concern about the current lawsuit between county council candidate Rick Sharp and Hamilton County. Sharp is suing the county because of the ordinance, claiming it is not fair to limit lesser-financed candidates’ chances at gaining name recognition through the placement of signs. Spoljaric raised concern about the possibility of the city having to pay legal fees regarding the lawsuit.
“I understand the county’s version (of the ordinance) is in court right now, and ours models that one, so I feel a little bit uncomfortable entertaining a vote on this until we have further clarification,” she said.
City attorney Brian Zaiger did not share her concern, and the ordinance passed, 7-0.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 9 at City Hall, 130 Penn St. For more, visit westfield.in.gov.