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Carmel residents want to know why the city removed their political signs

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 09, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Political signs have been vanishing from front yards in Carmel, and now we know who is taking them and why.

Dr. Tim Hannon is running for Carmel city council. As a new candidate, yard signs are crucial for people like him to gain voter recognition. He placed signs supporting his campaign in his front yard, but caught the city's Street Department on camera taking them, and he had no idea why.

According to a city ordinance passed in 2006, signs must be placed on private property, not in the public right-of-way. Unbeknownst to Hannon, the easement line for his property goes right up to his front porch.

What he doesn't understand is how he's been able to place previous election signs in his yard in the past.

"The signs were in my yard in the exact same spot four years ago, so again it's surprising that it is seemingly sort of targeted enforcement that has crept up in this election."

And it's not just him. Signs for other council candidates and mayoral challenger, Fred Glynn, have been taken, as well.

"In 2016, we had an election for a national president and those signs were up for the gentleman that won the victory and nobody remvoved the signs in the exact same locations," Jeff Naaman said. "And here we got a local election and those signs were taken out. It appears to be intimidation and it appears to be bullying."

Dan McFeely, who works with Carmel's community relations and economic development department, said all signs are impacted by the ordinance. He denies it has anything to do with politics. They have collected hundreds of real estate and business promotion signs, too.

"The thing to remember is we don't have a sign patrol that goes out every day looking for this kind of thing," McFeely said.

However, we found three visible locations right along Rangeline Road, as well as Main Street, that are cluttered with political signs. All had signs placed outside their legal easements.

"How do we explain that? As I said, if there's been a complaint launched, they'll come out and if ti's in the right of way, it will be pulled," McFeely said. "We don't do a 24-hour sign patrol. It's a big city and there are a lot of signs."

There's a city website where homeowners can see where their easement lines are. It's also worth noting that before the Street Department removes a sign, they take a picture where it was located and in violation. If yours has been removed, you can always pick up your sign from the city's site at any time.