Tuesday, December 23, 2014


An apparently overzealous Township code enforcement employee attempted to remove signs from several homes on Yale Street Monday night, and perhaps elsewhere, under the Township ordinance that prohibits their placement on the right of way berm that is technically Township property between the sidewalk and the street. 

But he did not give the required notice to homeowners.

The signs, shown here, are an effort to promote safe driving on a street that has seen too much speeding.

Still, they were removed but taken back when one neighbor stopped the code enforcement employee and requested their return.

We reached out to Code Enforcement Officer Robert Mittermaier today and advised him of this incident. He said the ordinance requires that no signs be placed on those right-of-ways, but said the Township is required to advise residents to remove them before taking any such action.

See his email response to us below:

Please find below the Maplewood Code Section 239-28 thru 31 regulates obstructions of the right of way for all items placed in this location. on signs in the right of way. In the case of these signs they are removed and disposed of. The ordinance does require a notice but had not been so done. This has been corrected by direction and refresher to the staff. There is however one type of sign which may be removed and that is a for sale / open house realty sign as required by Maplewood Code Section 271-56,G.6.2.

The code he referenced is below with a notice on the restriction from the Maplewood Leaflet:

 Signs and Graphics

It has become more prevalent recently for various types of obstructions to be placed in the Township Right-of-way. The Right-of-way of a street is that space from the property line of your property across the green strip, which may include grass, a sidewalk and curb, across the street pavement to the other property line which may also have a green strip and sidewalk. Maplewood Code section 239-28 thru 31 regulates any encroachments of the street. Lawn signs and or graphics are some of the obstructions currently found in the right-of-way. All unapproved encroachments are to be removed. Failure to remove such an encroachment will result in a notice of violation and a summons should the items(s) not be removed.

Signs placed in the Township's right-of-way are contrary to the Maplewood Code section 239-28 through 31 (copied below). Rather than giving residents a warning notice for this infraction, the Building Department staff will remove the sign from the right-of-way and place it at your front door with a reminder that its in violation of Township Code. Should the sign be found in the right-of-way again, a warning notice will be issued with a removal date. If the sign is not removed by the indicated deadline, a summons will be issued returnable in Municipal Court with an appearance required.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Chapter 239-28 – Street obstruction

No person shall encumber or obstruct or shall authorize the encumbering or obstructing of any street, highway, alley or other public place in the Township by erecting, depositing, placing or leaving or suffering to be erected, deposited, placed or left therein any building materials, stone, dirt, refuse, ashes, vehicles, structures, obstructions or any articles, materials or things whatsoever without having first obtained the written permission of the Township Clerk.

Chapter 239-30 – Removal upon notice

Any person who shall place, erect, deposit or leave any materials, articles, structures, vehicles or encumbrances in or who shall in any manner encumber or obstruct any street, highway or other public place, either with or without a permit therefore, shall, upon notice from the Township Clerk, remove the same within the time specified in the notice. The notice may be served personally upon the person by or under whose authority the materials, obstructions or encumbrances were placed in the highway or upon the owner of the premises in front of which the material, obstruction or encumbrance is placed or by mailing the same to his, her or their or either of their post office addresses, if the same be known, or by affixing a copy of the notice upon or near the obstruction.

Chapter 239-31Failure to comply, Removal by Township

Upon the failure of any person to comply with the requirements of the notice within the time specified, the Township Clerk may proceed to remove the obstruction, materials or encumbrance at the cost or expense of the person, to be recovered by an action at law against any or all of the persons in such manner as may be lawful. Any article or material which may be removed by the Township Clerk as provided by this article may be advertised and sold by the Clerk at the end of 20 days after the removal, unless the same shall be sooner reclaimed and the penalty and costs paid by the owner thereof, and the proceeds of the sale, after deducting the penalty and costs, shall be paid to any person furnishing satisfactory proof of ownership.

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