City of Myrtle Beach apologizes for removing political signs off private property

City of Myrtle Beach apologizes for removing political signs off private property

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of Myrtle Beach is taking responsibility for removing political campaign signs from private property along North King's Highway. It happened Monday morning when city code enforcement staff were removing signs placed on the right of way, but later found out the land was privately owned, so the staff returned the signs.

A political signage ordinance was passed by the city in 2008 that stated political signs are prohibited on any public land, publicly-owned land, right of way, or utility poles. It must not obstruct a driver's vision and signs are not allowed to exceed four square feet per sign and four feet in height.

The city does allow temporary political signs without a permit 45 days before the election until 5 days after the election. During political season, code enforcement staff diligently look for illegal signs that should not be on public property and then put the signs here behind the city services building so candidates and their staff can pick them up.

The city believes there is certainly a place for political signage. "The question is, do you allow it everywhere and we've said no. We don't allow it on public property - the public right of way should be free of that sort of political signage or any advertising signage," Mark Kruea Myrtle Beach Spokesperson said.

The signs were removed from Calda's Coal Fire Pizza. The business owner Anthony Calda captured the city code enforcement staff remove the signs and then drive back in the same car and put the signs back on surveillance cameras. "I shared the video on social media because I as very upset and annoyed, because prior to that it happened one other time. I didn't know what happened to the signs, but at that time I didn't think to look at the cameras as I did this time," said Calda.

Kruea said after the complaint was brought to the city's attention it was taken care of. "In trying to make Myrtle Beach look nice and clean, our staff got a little carried away yesterday. Our staff picked up those three signs that were on private property and they just didn't realize they were private property, so they went back and put the signs back," Kruea stated.

Calda put a number of political signs outside his restaurant, because he said he is passionate about this particular campaign. He said, "Well we've been here for four years and I think it's a great platform for what we are trying to accomplish here because after the last twelve sixteen twenty years I think everyone needs to know we need real change here."

Calda explained how he wanted to hear a personal apology from the city. "I have not received any phone calls from anyone with the city whatsoever on any apologies. No one has called me no one has contacted me, no one has said anything to me." Although Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pederson began the city council workshop this morning by making a public apology to ensure the public removing the signs was a mistake made by city staff and it was not directed at any one candidate. He said it's fair to say that all campaign signs have been collected by city staff at one time or another for being in the wrong place.

"Everyone should have a fair chance in running for office especially since now we have one of the most important elections in the history of Myrtle Beach and the biggest seat is open in Myrtle Beach, which is the mayor seat," Calda said.

Political signs are allowed to be up throughout the city until five days after the election on November 7th.

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