Display violated city’s sign ordinance

Larger-than-life hay bale version of President Trump changed after it exceeded size limits for political promotions.

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October 20, 2020 - 10:37 AM

This hay bale display, originally painted in support of President Donald Trump’s campaign, violated the city’s political sign ordinance and had to be changed, as shown with property resident Dwayne Martin. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

A political display on U.S. 54/Madison Avenue got a lot of attention this past week.

Too much, actually.

The display, composed of four large round hay bales and painted to represent a larger-than-life version of President Donald Trump, exceeded the city’s limits on political signs. 

It was an unusual type of sign, though, and an unusual situation, Codes Enforcement Office Greg Hutton said.

“That was a first,” he said.

This hay bale display, originally painted in support of President Donald Trump’s campaign, violated the city’s political sign ordinance and had to be changed.Courtesy photo

The sign was displayed at a rental property owned by Matt Kerr and occupied by Dwayne Martin. Both are Trump supporters and erected the hay bales to represent the president wearing patriotic sunglasses with “20” on each shoulder and the word “Trump” in the area that would be his lips.

The display violated the city’s limitations on the size of political signs, which cannot exceed a total of 6 square feet. 

Hutton informed Kerr of the violation Monday morning, and the sign was immediately changed. It was painted black, and multiple American flags were displayed across the front.

That doesn’t violate the city’s code, because it represents patriotism and does not promote one political party over another, Hutton said.

Martin said he chose instead to display flags to support the troops because he was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard.

Martin said the hay bale version of Trump elicited several honks every hour while it was displayed. He was disappointed it needed to be changed, but said he understands the city has to enforce the rules.

CITY ORDINANCE says political signs:

Cannot exceed 6 square feet.

Cannot be illuminated.

Cannot be erected on the right-of-way. That can be difficult, because the right-of-way may be different for different properties, Hutton said. In general, he recommends keeping signs between the house and sidewalk, and avoiding anything close to the curb.

Cannot be displayed more than 45 days before an election.

Cannot be displayed more than 7 days after an election.

Most violations tend to be oversized signs and displaying signs outside of the designated timeframe, Hutton said. Most people will remove the sign after being notified of the violation, and it’s rare to issue a citation.

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