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Fayette County zoning official, judge square off over signs

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Friday, April 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Fayette County's zoning office and a judicial candidate are at odds about the placement of campaign signs on the sides of parked semi-trailers.

The signs supporting Joseph George Jr. of South Union for Common Pleas judge are strapped to the sides of trailers at various locations in the county, according to an April 12 enforcement notice issued by Sara Rosiek, director of the county's office of Planning, Zoning and Community Development.

In the notice, Rosiek advises George that a section of the county's zoning ordinance prohibits placement of signs on the sides of parked trailers.

George on Thursday said he believes the signs are permissible under another section of the county zoning ordinance that governs political signs.

“I believe that the landowners who are supporting me by placing the trailers on their property are not in violation of the county ordinance since there is a separate section for political signs,” George said.

Under that section of the ordinance, political signs are allowed without permits as long as they are not in a public right of way or obstructing traffic, he said.

“None of the trailers are on a public right of way nor do they obstruct traffic visibility and there have been no complaints of any violations of this one and only restriction,” George said.

Rosiek said if the signs were on posts instead of attached to parked trailers, they would not be in violation of the zoning ordinance.

George pointed out that he does not own the properties on which the trailers and signs are located. Because he is not the land owner, he said, any enforcement notice should not have been sent to him.

“In a rush to judgment, the zoning office sent an enforcement notice to my district judge office,” George said.

George is district judge for South Union.

Rosiek said the notice was sent to George at the direction of her solicitor, Sheryl Heid. Rosiek said she sent the notice to George's workplace because his home address has been removed from county records because he is a district judge.

Heid was not available Thursday for comment.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media.

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