by Robert J. Hansen
Woodland, CA- The County of Yolo, in a press release yesterday, reminded political candidates and committees, campaign workers, and citizens supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot measure that both state law and county ordinances restrict the placement of temporary signs, including political signs, along local highways and roads.
Yolo County Code governs the placement of temporary political signs along county roads.
“While such signs are allowed on private property with landowner permission if they meet certain timing, size, and other requirements, temporary political signs are not allowed within the County road right-of-way,” the press release said.
Candidate for Yolo District Attorney Cynthia Rodriguez said politicking in Yolo County has always involved yard signs, road signs, and going door to door.
“Do they want us all on TV and the radio? Why can’t we put up road signs? I get it. I don’t want to break laws but it’s just interesting how volatile this has become,” Rodriguez said.
Yolo DA Jeff Reisig’s campaign could not be reached for comment.
Yolo County Public Information Officer John Fout said there is no hard and fast rule about what defines right-of-way.
“It depends on the situation but in general public property is not intended for people to be posting signs,” Fout said.
Fout said he wanted to get a greater definition of right-of-way but the county’s ordinance is the clearest available.
According to Fout, he doesn’t think there is a strong enforcement effort on this ordinance.
“We’re just trying to let people know not to do this,” Fout said.
Fout said the press release was not in response to incidents of the ordinance being violated, but because things seemed to be heating up in the election that the information needed to be shared throughout the county.
Such rights-of-way are used solely for road and utility purposes, including mileage markers, turnouts, and hazard and directional signs, according to the County.
State law applicable to state highways contains similar restrictions as the State Outdoor Advertising Act exempts the placement of “Temporary Political Signs” from state outdoor advertising laws.
“However, like Yolo County, the state prohibits the placement of temporary political signs within the state highway right-of-way,” the press statement said.
Signs cannot be visible within 660 feet from the edge of the right-of-way of a classified “landscaped freeway.” In Yolo County, portions of Interstate Highways 80 and 5, as well as State Highways 113 and 275, are classified as landscaped freeways, according to the statement.
All signs lawfully placed outside a state highway right-of-way must include a “statement of responsibility” filed with the Caltrans’ Outdoor Advertising Program in Sacramento, according to the county.
The cities of Davis, West Sacramento, Winters, and Woodland also regulate temporary signs, and campaigns are encouraged to review the ordinances adopted by each city.