When Are Yard Signs Legal or Illegal?

by Casey Valiant on June 24, 2014

Yard signs can sometimes be a nuisance, if they’re not placed properly. Very often, overeager advertisers will stick yard signs anywhere they think they’ll get some visibility and attract attention. But some people also take exception to seeing signs everywhere, and will do something about it.

We saw a news story this Spring about Cherry Horton, a Macon, Georgia woman who was arrested for collecting and disposing of yard signs that were placed in public rights-of-way.

Yard Sign - SAR LexingtonIn June 2013, Horton got tired of seeing the clutter, and began collecting and disposing of these roadside signs. When she was arrested in April 2014, she figured she had collected about 1,950 signs. Horton says she had researched the codes and regulations carefully, and would often check with nearby businesses to make sure the signs weren’t placed there with permission. She left those alone.

But some people took exception to Horton’s work, and she was eventually arrested because of some confusion over a couple signs in particular — were the yard signs placed legally or illegally? Horton says they were illegal, the sign owners say they had received permission.

There’s no one rule about installing yard signs in public areas or rights-of-way; that all depends on your state and even your local municipality. Some cities are very strict about this kind of thing, and will immediately dispose of signs that are posted in restricted areas. Other cities place a lower priority on these displays (or even allow them altogether). If you want to install yard signs in a public place, it’s always good to check first.

Ultimately, the charges were dropped against Horton, although there’s no word whether she’s returned to her clean up activities. While we do admire her willingness to help her local community, and to clean up clutter, we encourage anyone following in her footsteps to make sure they know all the local rules and ordinances first. Check with nearby property owners to make sure they don’t own that particular piece of property, or gave permission first.

As for the people who would place yard signs throughout your community, please check your local ordinances as well, and make sure you’re allowed to place the signs in public areas. Or ask a nearby business owner if you can place them on their private property instead.

For more information on yard signs and other forms of business signs, please visit the Signarama website. You can also find the local Signarama store — people who regularly study their local ordinances and regulations for just this reason — with our online store locator.

This post was written by...

– who has written 73 posts on Signarama Blog.

is the co-owner of SIGNARAMA Evansville. He graduated from Purdue University with a Computer Graphics Technology degree in 1999. He spent 3 years modeling in Salt Lake City (okay, 3D modeling for flight sim trainers for the US Navy) before moving to Texas to work with an international student ministry on the campus of Texas A&M. His wife, Kristi, is an award winning picture book author and illustrator. Whenever the occasion presents itself, Casey rides hippos bareback.

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