By: Sharon Aron Baron
You don’t need a calendar to know that tax season is around the corner, just follow the snipe signs.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “snipe signs” they are the pesky signs that businesses use to infiltrate our neighborhoods and streets with free advertisements. They usually put these eyesores out in the middle of the night, hence the name snipe because they are very sneaky as to when they do this.
I drive a lot throughout Tamarac, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale, Parkland, Coral Springs and Margate and while every city falls victim to these annoying signs, our city stands out as the worst in getting these nuisances picked up in a timely manner.
This time of year is no picnic for code enforcement who has found that just as quickly as they remove them, they return.
Our city knows that this time of year is especially the most difficult, so they must prepare for the onslaught of them, however, they don’t seem to be stepping up to the plate by either adding more personnel to the effort, or making more sweeps of our community like our neighbors in Coral Springs, who manage to do twice-daily sweeps to remove their signs.
How many sweeps does Tamarac code enforcement do? They only make a concentrated effort to pick them up on the weekends.
But don’t take it from me. Take a drive up to Coral Springs. Do you see rows and rows of snipe signs like you do on our corners sitting out for days?
According to Jaci Foster Code Compliance Manager with the City of Coral Springs, The word is spread throughout the office to head out and gather up signs first thing every Monday through Friday, starting at 7 a.m. when either an officer, supervisor, or code ranger observes snipe signs blanketing the city on their way into work. Then throughout the day, everyone is on the lookout for signs that might be replaced by businesses after lunch.
On Saturday and Sunday, they head out mid-morning to gather up signs again. This includes garage sales, improper for sale or rent signs and other signage they see.
“As you know, sometimes as you pick them up, someone is placing one out, and it can be frustrating,” said Foster.
Tamarac’s office led by Code Compliance Manager Mark Woods said, “We don’t do daily sweeps for signs because during the week we are generally citing other types of violations such as overgrown landscaping, public nuisances, and violations that affect the public safety and welfare.” He said that their (Tamarac) sweeps are concentrated on the weekends.
Woods says that if a local business put signs in the right of way, they are placed into the robocall system. The system, initiated last year uses computer software to call the phone numbers up to 20 times per day. If the signs return, then they are given a citation, but only if they are a local business.
“We obviously cannot travel out of the city to cite a business in another city,” said Woods.
If a citation is issued, the first offense is $250 and $500 for each additional offense. Same thing with Coral Springs, however, Coral Springs will travel outside of the city to issue the fine. “The fine is placed on the person or business,” said Foster.
Travel through all of these cities and you can bet they all get pounded with signs. The real test is which city’s code enforcement officers pick them up quicker and prevents the same company’s from coming back.
Our code officers work hard, and if they don’t have the staff to get these swept up on a daily basis, Tamarac looks like the sore thumb in Northwest Broward.