Bandit Signs

The Brays Oaks Management District in southwest Houston has declared war on "bandit signs" -- those small signs in public rights-of-way on city streets. They're going around and taking them down, as Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Two times a week, a team of sign busters from the Brays Oaks Management District goes around removing signs from the public right of way along nine major thoroughfares in their 14 square mile area. Spokesman Jim Myers calls them bandit signs because it's illegal for them to be there.

"A city right-of-way is the area from the sidewalk, going toward the street, across the median if there is one, to the esplanade, all the way up to the other side, to the sidewalk, and of course the median and esplanade."

Myers says bandit signs are visual pollution and Brays Oaks is fed up with them. They toss and destroy cheap signs, but owners of more expensive signs get a chance to claim them.

"We attempt to reach the person whose phone number is advertised on the sign, advise them that we have picked up their sign, and that we will hold their sign for ten days, after which time it will be destroyed."

There's a $500 fine if the City gets involved. Myers says some sign owners don't know they're illegal.

"If I see a new business that has opened and kind of papered the esplanades with their signs, I will go up and pick up a couple of them, find the manager of that store and explain to them what the law says."

Brays Oaks isn't alone in going to war against bandit signs. Other Management Districts and civic associations all over town also have active sign removal programs. There's a link to the City of Houston's position on bandit signs on our website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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