Town Manager Clarifies Policy on Political Signs

By Chris Paul

During the June 20 Town Council meeting, Town Manager Mike Malaguti gave the board and the audience a brief run down on how the town will be handling political signs on town-owned land, specifically, the land on Mammoth Road across from Matthew Thornton Elementary School.
This land was recently purchased from Moose Hill Orchards and the town manager wanted to clear things up, as the September Primary gets closer.
Malaguti started by saying, he has seen things mentioned on social media and has also received inquiries about the recently acquired parcel.
In past years, candidates have always been allowed to erect signs on the property and according to Malaguti, that policy won’t be changing.
He added that the policy is that the town generally tolerates the signs on its property, provided they do not pose a safety or traffic hazard.
Malaguti also mentioned, “I think that area is a benefit, because it draws those signs away from areas where they might be more of a line-of-sight issue.”
He emphasized that the town does not get involved in who can put up signs there and who cannot, “That would be a big problem.”
Councilor Deb Paul asked Malaguti if there was a time frame in which candidates could post political signs and how long can they stay up. Adding that they shouldn’t be out all year.
Malaguti wasn’t sure about the time frame, but Council Chair John Farrell chimed in to say it’s always been up to the Town Moderator.
Farrell also added that the town does not have a hard and fast rule about the Town Common, but for many years, “It has been frowned on.”
According to the NH Department of Transportation:
State law prohibits placement of political signs on the interstate highways, including the entrance and exit ramps.
They are prohibited from placement on or affixed to utility poles or highway signs.
Signs that create a traffic hazard or obstruct the safe flow of traffic will be removed. They should not be posted on delineator posts or bridges, as the removal is costly.
This is prime mowing season, so it is best not to place signs in an area with long grass that is likely to be mowed in the near future.
Placement of signs on private property requires permission from the landowner.
Signs on private property that obstruct traffic signs or signals, or restrict a motorist’s field of view at an intersection, will be removed as a traffic hazard.
Candidates are required to remove all political signs by the second Friday following the election, unless the election is a primary and the advertising concerns a winning candidate.
When Paul contacted the Town Moderator after the meeting, Jonathan Kipp referred to the aforementioned state law and also added that there is no specific timeframe on when signs can be placed, “State law is silent on how soon signs can go up, so there is currently no “too early.”
Kipp also said, “I had a discussion with Mike Malaguti regarding signs on town property, and I suspect any policy we have will be reviewed by Mike and/or the Town Council.”

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