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Illegal Advertising Along Highways

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Illegal Advertising Along Highways

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 29, 2008


Highway Advertising Signs


Why do developers get away with illegal advertising on the highway right-of-way? Want to know which developers? Just click on the photo to enlarge it.

It's a classic case of lack of enforcement.

For five years I have been ragging on IDOT and McHenry County to enforce existing laws about advertising in the right-of-way.

These signs miraculously sprout on Friday afternoons and disappear on Sunday nights. Why?

Those are the hours when IDOT offices are closed and the McHenry County Planning & Development Department is closed. Does anyone think that the developers don't know this?

IDOT claims not to have the manpower to pick up these signs on week-ends. I believe them. I certainly wouldn't want to see two IDOT employees on overtime and a dumptruck out for sign pick-up on a week-end. At least, not without direct billing to the developers. The money will be better spent filling potholes. (Too bad IDOT wasted $1.8 MILLION on U.S. 14 putting in rumble strips!)

Under the "leadership" of the former director of the County's Planning & Development Director (who can remain nameless since she was fired recently), that Department asked the State's Attorney for an opinion as to whose responsibility it was to remove illegal signs from County roads. Rumor has it that the SAO told the County that it's the Townships' responsibility. I can't find out, for sure, because the County claims attorney-client privilege for the advice. Baloney! County money was spent; the opinion should be open record!

Are the Townships interested in removing illegal signs? Ha-ha.

In the meantime, the blight on the roadsides continues. It had slackened a while back, but it's in full swing now. Just cast your eyes to the shoulder next time you are driving on a State highway in McHenry County or on a County road.

But wait! Maybe all businesses should just start advertising on the highway shoulder. If the developers can do it with impunity, why not the rest of us?

Watch for advertising signs for The Woodstock Advocate at your next stop sign. And don't remove them, either. That's theft!

© 2008 GUS PHILPOTT



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