Your guide to placing signs in the Township

Date: October 4, 2017

"Signs, signs, everywhere signs. Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind. Do this, don't do that. Can't you read the sign?"
Remember that 1970 oldie by Five Man Electrical Band? The lyrics may serve as a reminder of why signs need to be regulated.

Below, our comprehensive guide to sign placement and timing in the Township, including a link to the Township's updated Signs and Billboards Ordinance.

Keep signs out of the Township Right-of-Way

If you have placed signs in the Township Right-of-Way, you may be wondering where they go when they’re suddenly gone. Most likely, they have been confiscated by Ferguson Township Ordinance Officer Lori Sowash, who polices where signs are placed.

Right-of-Way varies depending on the location, but one thing you can be sure of: Signs placed at the edge of the road, attached to telephone poles or placed in a median are in the Right-of-Way where they don’t belong. “We can’t have signs cluttering up the Right-of-Way,” she says. “They are a distraction to drivers who need to be paying attention to the road. And it’s so dangerous to put them — and pull them — from these high-traffic spots.”

Officer Sowash says that any space between the sidewalk and the curb — as well as any location where there are street signs, stop signs, telephone poles, or a CATA bus stop — is always the Right-of-Way. In addition, any median, or median flower bed, is Township property.

Regardless of the message, every sign she finds in the Right-of-Way has been wrongfully placed and must be removed. Officer Sowash removes these signs to a shed at the Township and keeps them approximately 30 days. You’re encouraged to give her a call if your signs have gone missing, and are welcome to retrieve them at the Township Municipal Building at 3147 Research Drive.

If it’s your job to place signs, or you’re sending volunteers to place signs for you, call the Township to ask where they are allowed. It’s your responsibility to ask where you can place them.

When signs are placed incorrectly, Officer Sowash does make a few temporary exceptions for yard sale signs, provided they are taken down immediately after the sale has ended, as well as “lost pet” signs placed on telephone poles. “I’ll call the number on the sign and ask if the pet has been found. I want to give people a chance to take the sign down.”

Questions? Call the Township at (814) 238-4651, or email Officer Sowash at lsowash@twp.ferguson.pa.us

To learn more about where you can post signs in the Township, and what kinds of signs are permitted, read our FAQ on the updated Signs and Billboards Ordinance.

Political signs are subject to Ferguson Township Code

A reminder to residents: temporary political signs are subject to the following under Ferguson Township Code – Signs and Billboards-Chapter 19.

Temporary event signs may be erected and maintained for a period not to exceed 30 days prior to the date of which the campaign, drive, activity or event advertised is scheduled to occur and shall be removed within three days of the termination of such campaign, drive, activity or event.

Now is the time to begin placing signs, as the general primary election is November 7. Please adhere to the Code for placement guidelines.

Section 107:

Temporary Political Signs. Signs announcing political candidates seeking office, political parties and/or political and public issues contained on a ballot shall be subject to the following:

(1) Private Property. There shall be not more than one temporary political sign for each elected office per each 1,000 linear feet of road frontage on a zoning lot.
(2) Public Right-of-Way. There shall be no political signs displayed or erected in the public right-of-way.
(3) On private property, temporary political signs shall not exceed an aggregate gross surface area of 20 square feet.

Special Conditions.
(a) Timing. Temporary event signs may be erected and maintained for a period not to exceed 30 days prior to the date of which the campaign, drive, activity or event advertised is scheduled to occur and shall be removed within three days of the termination of such campaign, drive, activity or event.

Temporary and Personal Expression Signs

Signs that are exempt from permit requirements include the following: exempt signs as specified in Section 7; real estate signs, temporary construction signs, temporary political signs, temporary event, auction, garage/yard sale signs; personal expression signs, or daily advertising signs.

What is a Personal Expression Sign?

A personal expression is an on-premises sign that expresses an opinion, interest, position, or other non-commercial message. The image at right is an example. Personal expression signs are exempt from permit requirements. These may be posted without a permit but outside the Right-of-Way, and may be left standing indefinitely.