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The article in last week's edition of the Rappahannock News regarding the political sign at Massie’s Corner reported that Zoning Administrator Michelle Somers said that she and the county attorney would look into whether or not the sign is in compliance with the county’s sign ordinance, but that “political signs of this nature are not permanent.” 

However, permanence is not the issue in this case. The issue at hand is the enormous size of the sign, which is addressed in the county’s sign ordinance for both permanent and temporary signs.

First, the Code of Virginia § 15.2-109, Regulations on political campaign signs, states: “No locality shall have the authority to prohibit the display of political campaign signs on private property if the signs are in compliance with zoning and right-of-way restrictions applicable to temporary nonpolitical signs, if the signs have been posted with the permission of the owner.”

The Rappahannock County zoning code §170-102, Temporary Signs (E), states: “Temporary signs shall not exceed 50 square feet in area or 10 feet in height. [Amended 4-6-1987.”

Furthermore, Rappahannock zoning code §170-101, Prohibited Signs (F), states: “Freestanding signs in which the long dimension exceeds the short dimension by a ratio of three to one (3:1) are prohibited, unless such signs are less than four feet in height and set back from the property line a minimum of 15 feet, in which case the ratio shall not exceed twenty to one (20:1).”

A round bale averages five feet wide by approximately six feet in diameter.

We are of course free to express our support for the candidates of our choosing, but perhaps these codes may have been put in place in order to help prevent that expression from blemishing an entire landscape. The particular candidate mentioned in the sign at Massie’s Corner has shouted to Americans that he stands for LAW and ORDER. Well?

Andrew Smith



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