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October 16, 2008 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Question about yard signs (not of a political scope). The house across from mine went into foreclosure a while back. A few days ago a for sale sign went up. Now it is a billboard.

Location, Saint Paul, MN. I have no problem at all with the for sale going up. I'd rather see someone living in it then it sitting empty. That didn't bother me one bit.

But today another batch of signs (not from the real estate company) got plastered all over it. These are are from an auction company and have FORECLOSURE plastered all over them. Included one giant one on the garage, like 6 foot by 6 foot.

Searching for signs and foreclosure is pointing me to signs of foreclosure. Not actually foreclosure signs.

I am fairly certain that I cannot put up a large series of giant signs up to promote a company. Can they?
posted by jeribus to Law & Government (9 answers total)
no, probably not. call your city's zoning office tomorrow morning.
posted by lester at 5:03 PM on October 16, 2008

I think your best bet is to check with whoever handles code enforcement for your city. There may be limitations how large of any kind of sign you can put on private property -- or maybe not. Start there.
posted by brain cloud at 5:04 PM on October 16, 2008

St. Paul code on signs.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:06 PM on October 16, 2008

Most municipalities have sign ordinances which dictate the permissible location and size of commercial signage; you could contact your local code compliance department and make a complaint. If your city is on top of things, they will notify the owner to remove the signs, cite the owner if he doesn't comply and eventually, remove the signs and bill the owner for the removal.

A faster method would be to call the number on the For Sale sign and complain about the additional signs. Most realtors do not want to have bad relationships with the neighbors. If that doesn't work, complain to the city.
posted by jamaro at 5:10 PM on October 16, 2008

Searching through St. Paul city code, it looks like signs larger than 6 square feet require permits. (Title VIII, Chapter 64. Specifically see 64.204.) If it's really 6x6, they'd need one.

Also, under section 64.301, it says "No sign shall be enlarged or altered in a way which increases its nonconformity. Billboard extensions are not permitted." Though this isn't a billboard, it sounds like it's been altered in a way that might not conform to the original permit, if they had one.

Call the city's zoning department and check to see that they have a permit, first off. Then, tell them about the alteration to see if they've violated zoning laws.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:15 PM on October 16, 2008

I see signs like that on lots of houses in the low-rent area I live in in Sacramento, CA and I agree that they are large and annoying. For what it's worth, they're taken down after the auction.
posted by sacrifix at 6:11 PM on October 16, 2008

If you want, take them down yourself (except the Realtor's For Sale sign). Stack them nicely at the side of the house (ie don't damage or steal them).

You won't be breaking any actual laws AFAIK and the auction company problem won't know or be bother to send someone back to re-install them.

This advice - or similar - was given to me by a Zoning Official in a small town when I complained about some signage. He said to go through the official channels may take weeks (they have to serve notification on the original installers first before they can send their own public works guys around). The auction company know that by the time they have to take them down, the auction will be over and the signs will be gone anyway.

I am not your zoning official. IANAL etc.
posted by Xhris at 10:31 PM on October 16, 2008

Do you have a neighborhood association? Those big-ass signs may be violating a covenant (my neighborhood forbids commercial signage beyond a small realtor's sign)
posted by Thorzdad at 4:32 AM on October 17, 2008

Called zoning, they said the signs shouldn't be there. But that it would take more time to get rid of them through the proper channels than until the auction. When I got home today, they had already been taken down and set next to the house. Someone beat me to the punch!
posted by jeribus at 4:55 PM on October 17, 2008

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