News and Tribune

April 6, 2014

City: Election signs don’t belong on public property

Thirty-four structures could be razed by city

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — As the May 6 primary nears, city officials are taking notice of the number of election signs improperly placed in public right-of-ways in New Albany.

It’s typically a popular problem when election season arrives, and some officials don’t believe there’s much that can be done to keep it from happening.

“There’s no way to control it. You can talk to the candidates all you want to,” City Attorney Stan Robison said this week.

Floyd County Democratic Party Chair Adam Dickey said he’s instructed candidates not to place their signs in right-of-ways. In some cases, people place signs on behalf of candidates, and they put them in right-of-ways without the candidate knowing, Dickey said.

The city has the authority to remove any sign or advertisement placed on public property, which is banned in New Albany.

The New Albany Street Department regularly performs sweeps to remove signs from right-of-ways, but that doesn’t keep them away for long.

Street Commissioner Mickey Thompson said the city removed several signs about a week ago only to have those same light poles and right-of-ways littered with advertisements a few days later.

If a sign is removed by the street department, they typically are stored for at least 30 days to allow the owner to retrieve them.



BUILDING MAY BE DEMOLISHED

The owners of 34 vacant buildings in New Albany have been notified that their structures could be razed by the city in the coming weeks.

The New Albany Building Commission is slated to vote on the fates of those structures during its May 4 meeting.

New Albany Building Commissioner David Brewer said the city sent letters to the property owners of those structures recently, as the buildings have been deemed to be unsafe.

Property owners are typically allowed to address the commission about their buildings before a vote is taken. The city does have the authority to approve emergency demolitions.



MULTIUSE CENTER GETS ZONING APPROVAL

The city received approval from the New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals this week to turn the former Hoosier Panel site into a public park.

The city has been in the process of clearing the property — located at 2045 Silver St. — in order for a multiuse recreational center to be constructed there.

“We’re on schedule for a late fall opening for the facility,” said David Duggins, director of redevelopment and economic development for the city.

Morel Construction Co. will build the center, which will include splash pads, a walking trail and a skate park outside the facility.