Mayor wants to enforce law on illegal yard sale signs, calls them ‘trash’

One of the main reasons the signs, such as these posted at Tres Pinos Road and Ladd Lane, are illegal is that they can cause distractions for drivers.

Hollister’s mayor wants to clean up the traffic poles, stop signs and other public property acting as posts for residents’ illegal yard sale signs on weekends, but the code enforcement director said he needs more city council direction on the matter before enforcing the law.
Hollister’s Code Enforcement Director Mike Chambless told the Free Lance on Friday that his department does not do any enforcement of the illegal yard or garage sale signs posted throughout Hollister on weekends.
“The council hasn’t directed us to do anything there,” Chambless said when asked why there is no enforcement.
Chambless went on: “We’re dealing with our usual substandard housing and everything else.”
Chambless’ department, which includes a separate code enforcement officer, does have authority to enforce municipal code violations.
Mayor Ignacio Velazquez and the council in October 2013 agreed to reverse a prior council’s decision, from 2004, to have code officers respond only to complaint-driven issues. The new directive, effective Jan. 1 of this year, states that code enforcement should proactively enforce violations, meaning the office doesn’t need a complaint. Additionally, council members in their approval specifically underscored the need to address signs and substandard housing.
Velazquez disagreed with Chambless’ perspective on the enforcement directive and called the illegal signs “trash.”
“No, I know we’ve talked about signs on poles and signs that are leftover,” Velazquez said of discussions among city officials. “I know I’ve made mention of it a few times.”
He said it is a more of a “department issue” he will address with the city manager.
“I’ll find out why it’s not being taken care of,” Velazquez said.
The mayor expressed particular frustration at people who post signs and never pick them up.
“If people don’t pick up their signs, they need to get a ticket for it,” he said. “I don’t like that people aren’t picking up their trash.”
Both state and city law bar residents from posting signs on public property. The state outlaws posting of signs on traffic-control devices such as lighted signals or stop-sign poles, and the city code goes further in stating that posting signs on trees, shrubs or utility poles are additional violations.
Chambless encouraged residents to read up on the municipal code or else call his department and ask about the rules.
“It’s much better to deal with it that way than through an enforcement action,” Chambless said, adding it’s better for residents and quicker for his department.
He discouraged residents from taking down others’ illegally posted signs.
“Number one, that could lead to an altercation and someone could get hurt,” Chambless said. “Number two, that is somebody else’s property. We don’t encourage anyone to mess with someone’s property, even if it’s on public property.”
Hollister Municipal Code Section 17.20.060 – Prohibited signs:
“Signs affixed to trees, shrubs, utility poles, traffic control devices, and the like.

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