|Roadside signs, like this one in Annandale, are illegal.|
The sign removal program will begin later this year and will operate three days a week, Tuesday through Friday. Once a legal agreement is signed with VDOT, the county will have the authority to act as an agent of the Virginia Commissioner of Highways under Section 33.1-375.1 of the Virginia code.
The illegal signs, including political messages and commercial advertisements, will be taken down by the Community Labor Force operated by the Sheriff’s Office. The signs will be removed from highways designated by the Board of Supervisors.
Neighborhood streets would not be affected, and neither would certain kinds of signs permitted by state law, including no trespassing signs; signs identifying Red Cross stations, civic service clubs, or churches; signs at intersections giving directions to a church, residence, or place of business; and signs advertising a special event.
All but three of the speakers who addressed the Board of Supervisors on the sign issue expressed strong support for the agreement. Those who opposed it were concerned about reduced outreach for youth sports clubs, craft events, and farmers markets. John Davis of the Braddock Road Youth Club, for example, said public signs are the only way some people learn about his club.
Several people who spoke at the meeting also urged the board to take action against the profusion of litter along roadways and other public places. Mason District Council of Community Associations Chair Mollie Loeffler suggested that since community labor force crews will be out collecting signs, they should pick up litter, too. The Clean Fairfax Council offered to provide free trash bags.
Elizabeth Martin, chair of the Environmental Committee of the Mount Vernon Council of Civic Associations, called for Fairfax County to participate in Litter Enforcement Month in April, an initiative sponsored by the Alice Ferguson Foundation.
The cost of the sign removal program is estimated at $150,000 a year. County officials expressed reluctance to impose fines, except perhaps for the most egregious violators, because of the time and cost.