Group Wants To Keep Time Limit On Political Signage - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Group Wants To Keep Time Limit On Political Signage

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KALISPELL - Just in time for campaign season, the rules that say when and where political signs can go up in Flathead county could be in for a change.

Whether it's right off a main road, or in your own backyard, there could be some rules coming down the pike soon that would limit how long you can keep political signs posted.

"It can easily be perceived as some effort by a particular party of particular campaign to push a text amendment. Text amendments like this take a lot longer than just the recent primary campaign," said BJ Grieve, the Flathead county planning director.

It's been on the Flathead county planning board's agenda for more than a year, ever since they sent out a letter reminding people of the rule: you can't post a candidate's sign more than thirty days before the actual election if you live on zoned land outside of Columbia Falls, Kalispell, and Whitefish city limits. It goes on to say all signs should be taken down a week after the polls close.

Even though people listened, they got some calls saying this isn't how it's done.

"There's case law around the country that indicates that restrictions on when you can post political signage is a restriction on political free speech," explained Grieve.

Citizens For A Better Flathead likes how things are now.

"We do feel that the county is within sound legal ground to retain some limits to the duration of these signs or to require them to be current," said Mayre Flowers, the executive director of Citizens For A Better Flathead. They're worried that if the time limit is lifted, then old signs might pile up and become an eyesore.

Flathead county commissioners will get the final say this Friday.

The cities have their own rules for political signage, and unzoned areas are basically anything goes unless it's within eyeshot of a state road. Then, the rules for posting are up to the state.

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