Signs Here, There and Everywhere – It Must Be Campaign Season

Town ordinance allows political signs on private property only

Go almost anywhere in New City, Nanuet or Clarkstown and it is almost guaranteed you will not have to travel far before you see a political candidate’s sign.  Very often, it is not just one sign in a location but several, often many.  Clarkstown’s Code & Zoning Enforcement Officer Joel Epstein said there is a town regulation for signs and the political candidates are notified.

“We send letters out to the candidates before the election to tell them the rules,” said Epstein, noting that no signs – political or other types - can be put in the public right of way.

The August letter signed by Town Building Inspector Peter Beary advised the candidates where signs could and could not be placed.

The Town of Clarkstown’s Littering & Posting Ordinance, Chapter 173 of the Town Code, prohibits the posting of any and all signs in the public Right of Way. This long standing statute has seen enhanced attention and enforcement over the past several years in a stepped up effort to reduce visual blight, improve traffic safety and visibility and enhance the Town’s general aesthetics.

Please be aware of the following in order to comply with our statute: 

Postings of any kind must be on private property with the property owner’s permission. If you do not have private property owner permission, the sign cannot be posted. If you have the owner’s permission, the sign must be on their property, not in the public right of way in front of their house or business.

Despite the distribution of information, Epstein said, “A lot of them have called asking where their signs are. We would rather have them collect their illegal signs instead of us.”

The proliferation of political signs keeps the town’s zoning, building and highway department workers busy as they remove any that are posted illegally.  Popular locations include the state highways: Route 59, 9W, 303 and 304 and the medians of those roadways.

“That’s all state property,” said Epstein. “You can’t put a sign there.”

It is an ongoing process. 

“We try to clean the main roads,” Epstein said “We like to keep Clarkstown looking good and some of the candidates don’t comply.”

Epstein noted the town prohibits any signs in the public right of way because they can be visual blight and present a traffic hazard by blocking drivers’ line of sight, blowing into a drainage basin or winding up in the roadway. Candidates can post signs on private residential or business property as long as they have the owner’s permission.

Three methods of enforcing the ordinance exist. Epstein said the signs can be picked up the same as roadside litter; the town can take enforcement action in Justice Court or the violator can be required to pay the cost of removing the sign. In most cases, he said the town clears the signs or the candidates remove after the election. 


Marie Zanicchi September 22, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Can anyone do something in regards to all the phone calls prior to elections...especially the nightime calls after 8PM???
Tony T September 22, 2011 at 03:46 PM
In the general of of Exit 10 on the PIP there were 4 garge sale signs posted over the weekend. First, they were ILLEGALY posted on town, county or state porperty as well as O&R utility poles. NONE were removed as of Wednedsay morning....why are these offenders not fined???
Percy Marvelous September 22, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Joel Epstein, the town code enforcement officer, has a thankless job. Mr. Epstein has done yeoman's work keeping town right of ways clear. It has been my experience that he has bent over backwards to ensure that no sign is wrongly removed. I also know him to be fair, diligent, and impartial in the execution of his duties.
earth2murf September 23, 2011 at 10:01 AM
every sign shown in the photos above are illegal....they shold not be anywhere near intersections competing with stop signs ,stop lights,Etc...its gonna take a death to stop this madness...
Tony T October 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Maybe it is time to re-publish this article.....(Signs Here, There and Everywhere – It Must Be Campaign Season-Town ordinance allows political signs on private property only) campaign signs have already begun to pop up all around Clarkstown..........see Exit 10 N/S as an example.


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