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St. Pete takes aim at illegally placed signs

City departments are on the lookout for signs such as these, at 34th Street and 26th Avenue S, above, and 22nd Avenue N near Home Depot, below.

Photos by SANDRA GADSDEN | Times

City departments are on the lookout for signs such as these, at 34th Street and 26th Avenue S, above, and 22nd Avenue N near Home Depot, below.

More and more Sunshine City residents are annoyed by the snipe signs that dot the public rights-of-way.

The mostly handwritten signs come in every color under the rainbow, and many folks consider them eyesores.

On a recent 3 1/2-mile commute to work in downtown St. Petersburg, I counted 10 signs.

This issue isn't new. In 2009, fines were implemented to curb the growing problem. The city collected $125 for first-time offenders and would often take repeat offenders to court.

In recent years, the fines collected by the city have decreased significantly, said David Dickerson, operations manager for codes compliance. The culprit: advancing technologies.

Contact phone numbers on snipe signs used to be easier to track, usually to land lines. Cellphones make it difficult.

Most snipe signs advertise home repair services, home and yard sales or other services. To manage the problem, the city has launched an initiative.

The plan calls for several departments to join forces in removing the signs. Staffers in the codes, community services, parks and recreation, stormwater and water resources departments have been trained to look for and remove snipe signs.

In 2012, with the help of the sanitation department, the codes department picked up 8,600 signs.

For starters, the city will concentrate on signs placed in medians and on utility poles. Signs will be disposed. Political or free speech signs are not considered snipe signs.

To report snipe signs in your neighborhood, call the Codes Compliance Department at (727) 893-7373 or visit stpete.org/eservices.

• • •

Want to take a stroll on the beach for a good cause?

The Loews Don CeSar Hotel and the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to host the Charity Beach Bar Stroll on June 27.

The stroll kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Sunsets Tequila Bar at the Don and continues at participating bars along St. Pete Beach.

The event is $20 per person and includes free parking, a gift bag, a drink and hors d'oeuvres at each bar. Proceeds will go to the Red Cross in Oklahoma to benefit tornado victims.

Registration is required and can be completed at tampabaybeaches.com. For information, call (727) 360-6957 or email rsvp@tampabaybeaches.com.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at sgadsden@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8874. Follow @StPeteSandi on Twitter.

St. Pete takes aim at illegally placed signs 06/08/13 [Last modified: Monday, June 10, 2013 12:17pm]

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