The Branford Police Department has requested that Town Hall take steps to remove signs in public right of ways and public property in response to a large number of complaints from residents.
Town department heads are also reporting a drastic increase in complaints, largely due to one person littering town with negative signs.
While signs are not allowed in public right of ways, police are also stating that residents should not touch the signs, and instead report them and allow the authorities to remove them.
Deputy Chief John Alves has been researching the situation amid the growing number of complaints.
“We did receive communication from the State’s Attorney’s Office that while CT has no specific statutes which regulate, or would permit, the taking of signs from public property by a private citizen our larceny statues would still apply,” he explained.
“However, there are several state statutes and some D.O.T regulations which require the removal of non-permitted signs by town officials. Based on the increasing volume of signs throughout town and associated complaints, we have requested the 1st Selectman’s office direct the removal of all signs which are not in compliance with State Statutes or D.O.T regulations.
“Additionally,” he continued, “we request that private citizens do not take signs which do not belong to them. We will continue to investigate these matters on a case by case basis and take appropriate police action. If the signs are in violation, they will be removed by town officials in due time.”
The town of Branford does have laws regarding what signs can be placed and for what duration, although they are mainly focused on business signs. The purpose of this law as stated in the code is “to provide needed control and regulations to assure compatibility of signs with the environment in which they are located, to enhance the attractiveness of the Town, to conserve property values in all areas, to protect the public investment in streets and highways and to promote the general welfare and prosperity of the people of the Town.”
As has been noted and witnessed by many residents, although the signs are placed in public areas and then removed by local and state workers, there has been an ongoing campaign to continue to place signs on public property. Residents are encouraged to call in any issues with the signs, and not remove them on their own.