Importance of code enforcement emphasized by city officials

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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Recently, concern was raised as codes were violated throughout the city of Winchester. 

Fortunately, Rebecca Power – Winchester’s Code Enforcement Officer – was willing to discuss the matter. 

“It is really important,” Power said, explaining the relevance of codes. “If you didn’t have codes [and] if you didn’t have things like that…it makes the town look bad. You could have dilapidated buildings, too tall grass places, trash everywhere, [and] more.” 

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Along with others, including Shanda Cecil, Power helps ensure that ordinances on a variety of topics – such as lighting – are followed on a regular basis. 

As of late though, issues with following ordinance(s) regarding road signs have come up. 

The Winchester Police Department, supporting their statement with photos, posted a message on Facebook on Wednesday, May 29. 

“The Winchester Police Department would like to inform all citizens of a city ordinance regarding signage in right away areas of town. No signage is allowed in the right of way areas of town”, it stated. “This includes any sign affixed to a utility pole, road signage/stop signs, freestanding devices such as business advertisements, yard sale signs, political signs, lost animal flyers, etc.” 

Referencing Article 11 of the Winchester Code of Ordinances, dealing directly with sign regulations, Winchester PD also included a link where those interested can learn more:

Specifying further, Power spoke of what the term “right of way” refers to. 

“A good explanation…is usually everything from the sidewalk – including the sidewalk – to the road is [considered] right of way,” she said, adding that individual locations could slightly differ based on circumstances. 

Along with placements, there are certain regulations of the timing of signs, whether placed in residential or commercial locations. 

For example, political signs are only supposed to be posted starting 30 days prior to an election. 

If signs are found to be violating local codes, code enforcement officers such as Power will be tasked with taking them down. 

For such reasons, she encourages the public to take action toward doing so if they’re aware that they’ve placed a sign in a right away area of town. 

Also, offenders – especially repeat offenders – can be fined an amount anywhere from $10 to $100. 

“If I see perpetual signs of the same business, I’ll call to explain to them that they can’t do it,” Power said. 

With upcoming elections and more events that tend to lead toward more signs being placed, Power added that awareness is essential. 

“A lot of people don’t know the rules and regulations because they see somebody else put a sign up before [we] can pick it up,” Power said.