By Elsa Maxey
Fort Bend County Commissioners will be looking at a directional sign or a kiosk program for approval by the Texas Department of Transportation and administration by the county. Commissioners Court authorized negotiations with National Signs Plaza, Inc. this month. But, it was clear the commissioners did not want to lock themselves with one sign company. It was also expressly understood there would be no exclusivity.
“It’s a good first step,” said Judge Bob Hebert, and as the effort is further developed, “we probably have to bid.”
Commissioners weighed in on the possibility of permit applications fees for signs, a one size fits all, directional signs and temporary signs for home builders. Also, the possibility of the sign vendor developing a program would mean that Fort Bend may serve as the “guinea pig.”
According to the county’s legal staff, there is no expressed authority for counties to administer a sign program. Proceeding with a sign vendor at this point could mean the county may be able to get the okay for local purposes since the sign program would be TxDOT approved. A focal legal question, however, became why would there have to be approval by the Texas Department of Transportation for a county road?
“You’re not going to get rid of bandit signs,” maintained Commissioner Grady Prestage. “I live with those bandit signs out in my neighborhood,” said Judge Hebert. These signs in other places have also been called “litter on a stick.” The bandit signs are small, made out of polyboard, corrugated plastic, poster board, wood and other materials on stakes used for advertising and posted in unauthorized places like utility poles, on street signs, or within a public right of way, public property or on private property. Commissioner James Patterson said he knew of someone three years ago earning $70,000 making and picking up bandit signs.