The time might be approaching, Northwest Civic Association President John Ehlers said, when residents may have to take matters, in the form of illegal signs, into their own hands.
At last week's monthly meeting, the final one before the summer hiatus of taking July off, civic association trustees voiced growing concern over visual pollution in the area, from advertising signs placed in the public right way to graffiti.
"We're sort of moving in a direction here where we as local residents have some control over our environment," Ehlers said.
While stopping far short of advocating residents ever take any risks in removing illegal signs from public property, Ehlers did say he learned at a citywide meeting of Block Watch coordinators in late May there are two policies regarding such actions.
The official one is that code enforcement personnel should be the ones who remove illegally posted signs, such as the ones offering to buy houses or sell mattresses.
The unofficial one, according to Ehlers, is that people who take it upon themselves to rid the landscape of such visual pollution aren't committing any real offense.
"There's a real gray area here," Ehlers said.
His wife, Kellie Ehlers, also a member of the board, complained about banner signs that have begun cropping up at an intersection.
"It seems like one is added every day," she said.
The discussion was touched off when Trustee Mark Krietemeyer brought up the issue of signs that proliferate around apartment complex advertising vacancies and "move-in specials."
Rosemarie Lisko, graphics and zoning committee chairwoman, chimed in that four such signs go up every weekend at the intersection of Dierker and Bethel roads.
Secretary Kyle Hartman asked if it was all right for citizens to take it upon themselves to remove these signs.
Isom Nivins Jr., the city's neighborhood liaison to the Northwest Side as well as Clintonville, said it wasn't theft.
The Northwest Civic Association has a longstanding position opposing the posting of such advertising, Mr. Ehlers pointed out.
Hartman raised the issue of graffiti on a fence. He filed a complaint two weeks earlier using the city's 3-1-1 reporting line, and at the June meeting said no action had yet taken place.
"I just want to avoid the broken-window effect out there," Hartman said.
The next regular meeting of the Northwest Civic Association, at which the sign issue might crop up again, is scheduled for 7 p.m., Aug. 6, in Room 213 at Meadow Park Church of God, 2425 Bethel Road.