Tomorrow our fearless Board is scheduled to take up the various brilliant schemes that Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) et al. have devised to pretend to be doing something about the epidemic of illegal signs littering our roadways.
Since abolishing the extremely effective volunteer clean-up program promptly upon taking office in January as (a) a payoff to the developers who put them in office and (b) payback to those who opposed them, the new Board has been scrambling to cover its collective posterior with all sorts of half-baked schemes that will give the illusion of enforcing the law against illegal signs, while doing almost nothing in reality.
Currently, a grand total of two county staff members are assigned from 10 am to 1 pm each Monday to remove illegal signs. Needless to say, they don’t cover quite as much ground as the 100 volunteers of the abolished program did. Nor do they work on weekends, when the problem actually occurs. In fact, by picking up signs on Mondays they are mostly just doing the work of the scofflaw sign posters themselves, who are happy to keep forking out the small cost of new signs in return for getting to keep them up each Friday through Sunday every week, when they hope to draw the peak home-shopping traffic.
One bright new idea that county staff was ordered to look into was—believe it or not—to set up a system whereby illegal signs would be removed, stored, and returned to their rightful lawbreaking owners upon payment of a “fee.” Presumably this would have been followed up by with an equally innovative program to return drugs seized from drug dealers and guns seized from bank robbers, upon payment of a “fee.” (Staff reports that alas there is no provision in law for the county to store and return signs.)
Another idea is a “hybrid” program that would allow, according to the staff report, “the use of volunteers, partnered with a Zoning Inspector (inspection team example: two (2) volunteers, one (1) Zoning Inspector).” Such teams might even work one Saturday a month, the report suggests. Presumably the offenders (Toll Brothers, Selma, Beazer Homes, etc etc etc etc) will cooperate by only posting their hundreds of illegal signs once a month as well.
It’s becoming pretty clear that the real solution to this problem does not involve reallocating the tasks of two (2) volunteers or one (1) Zoning Inspector, but rather replacing the nine (9) Supervisors who are currently little more than paid pawns of the development and real estate industry.
Three and a half years to go and counting . . .