Residents complain of illegal signs along local roadways
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 13:12

Officials lack time, manpower to stem proliferation of signs

 by Nicole Rodman

    It is an all too familiar sight — signs proclaiming “We buy houses!” cluttering median strips along almost every major throroughfare in Dundalk.
    Though it is illegal to place signs (aside from government-sanctioned signs) in a median, that does not seem to stem the tide of new signs constantly popping up along roadways such as Dundalk Avenue and Merritt Boulevard.
    Some residents complain that Baltimore County Code Enforcement is not doing enough to address the issue.
    For county officials, however, it all comes down to an issue of time and manpower.
    According to code enforcement chief Lionel Van Dommelen, removing signs and tracking down those placing them is extremely time-consuming.
    “There are other issues that require our attention,” he said, noting, “Right now our priorities are rats, trash, high grass and weeds.

Van Dommelen did note that inspectors remove and dispose of signs whenever they can.
    Occasionally, officials will attempt to set up sting operations to catch those putting up the signs.
    During such operations, county officials will pose as interested customers and attempt to meet up with perpetrators.
    Penalties for illegal placement of signs range from correction notices to heavy  fines.
    County code enforcement officials warn that it is also illegal to post any signs to utility poles.
    While they do not usually issue citations to those who post signs to utility poles, county inspectors will remove such signs when they see them.
    According to Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) spokesperson Rachael Lighty, the prohibition of signs is all about safety.
    “It can be a climbing hazard for BGE workers who need to ascend or descend a pole to complete utility work, she said.
    “In addition, the posting of signs can damage the health of the utility pole.”
    Van Dommelen discourages residents from removing illegal signs on their own.    
    Rather, he encourages concerned residents to contact Baltimore County Code Enforcement with complaints.
    Complaints may be registered by
fax at 410-842-2642 or online at
    Complaints may also be mailed to Baltimore County Code Enforcement, County Office Building, Room 213, 111 West Chesapeake Avenue, Towson, MD 21204.