Breaking News

Mount Vernon to Enforce Sign Restrictions

MOUNT VERNON,– In about a month, Mount Vernon will begin removing and
disposing of any temporary signs that have been placed in the City right-of-way. This represents a
change in enforcement for the City, which previously had left the small yard signs alone, leading to
several complaints from residents that the proliferating signs were unsightly.

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert nullified many of the content
restrictions in Mount Vernon’s sign ordinance (Chapter 1175). The court determined that, in order
to preserve citizens’ right to freedom of speech, municipalities cannot discriminate on signs based
on their message.

In other words, the City cannot create certain rules for political signs and different rules for real
estate or commercial/non-profit advertising signs. The City is currently addressing its sign
ordinance in a zoning code re-write, but believes it is time to perform some enforcement of
temporary sign placement.

After collaboration amongst City staff, it has been decided that the City will no longer allow any
signs in its rights-of-way.The only exception will be signs placed by the City of Mount Vernon itself.
“This is being enforced in order to create a more welcoming atmosphere throughout the City and a
cleaner-looking town,” said Rick Dzik, Safety-Service Director.

“This is a step in the right direction to improve the aesthetics of the City,” said Council Person Mel
Severns, who pushed for the change in enforcement. “Signage needs to be appropriately placed
so that all residents in Mount Vernon and those visiting will realize the value we place on City

Traditionally, rights-of-way are defined as the grass between the curb and sidewalk, or tree lawn,
as well as the sidewalk itself. For areas of the City without sidewalks, the right-of-way is generally
considered to be the first ten feet extending from the street.

While signs will no longer be allowed in the City right-of-way, they are still permitted on private
property, with the permission of the property owner. Therefore, political signs, advertising signs,
real estate signs, etc., can be placed between the sidewalk and house/business, or ten feet off of
the street, with owner permission.

Beginning July 15, 2023, the City, with support from the Mount Vernon Municipal Court Probation
Department, will begin removal and disposal of all signs located in the City right-of-way. Please
relocate those signs before that date, if possible.

In addition, while utility poles in the City are owned and maintained by American Electric Power,
the utility company has given the City permission to remove signs from its poles that are in the City
right-of-way, so those signs will be subject to removal as well.

Any questions about this upcoming project can be addressed to the City’s Property Maintenance
Enforcement Office at (740) 393-9577.

Check Also

Badge of Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer

Daily Knox County Sheriff’s Office Calls and Reports From: 04/11/24