Summerville, Dorchester to team up on election sign law
SUMMERVILLE — The people whose streets and intersections get crammed with election campaign signs call them “litter on a stick.”
For the June primary, there seemed to be more of that than ever in the Oakbrook community. Signs seemed to go up earlier and some stayed put past the election. And a few were very big.
That’s why Summerville Councilman Bob Jackson approached Dorchester County Council this week to ask its members to work with the town on crafting an election sign law that would dovetail with their own, he said.
And that’s why the county and town might have mirror laws in time for the November election.
“A lot of people in my district don’t like (the signs) at all,” he said.
The Oakbrook neighborhoods Jackson represents straddle the erratic lines that separate the town and county.
“It’s so hard to figure out what property is where,” he said.
County Council is already working on a law, and “I think we will work with the town on it,” said council Chairman Larry Hargett, who faced issues with signs during his June campaign.
The current town law limits signs to 30 days before an election and gives a deadline for removing them after. But it doesn’t limit their size.
Historically, the county and town have not often worked together and occasionally feuded, most recently in the dispute over the county considering selling the old hospital property in the downtown.
But with the county developing the regional scale Pine Trace park in the town, and the town creating a planning overlay district for the Oakbrook community shared with the county, that might be changing.
“I think we need to work more collaboratively with the county and the region,” said Summerville Mayor Bill Collins. “The electorate doesn’t want duplication of cost and services.”
Regionalism, though, apparently has its limits.
The county also might approach North Charleston about matching sign laws. Part of the city is in Dorchester County.
But Mayor Keith Summey “supports candidates in getting their name out, without limiting their efforts,” his office said in a statement.
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