Oct 20, 2016 3:07 PM

City statute may leave Keene sign-free this political season

KEENE — Tis' the season of campaign signs and attack ads among politicians - well, for those of you in Keene, political signs soon may be a part of the past, but not because of the election.

The city is responding to the N.H. Attorney General’s Office’s interpretation of a state statute which prohibits the display of political advertising on city property and public rights of way, according to the Keene Sentinel.

The statute, RSA 664:17, reads: “No political advertising shall be placed on or affixed to any public property including highway rights-of-way or private property without the owner’s consent … Signs shall not be placed on or affixed to utility poles or highway signs. Political advertising may be placed within state-owned rights-of-way as long as the advertising does not obstruct the safe flow of traffic and the advertising is placed with the consent of the owner of the land over which the right-of-way passes ...," the Keene Sentinel reports.

There has been confusion around the city as to the actual guidelines surrounding the law are. Officials believe that the confusion comes from the change in the interpretation by the Attorney General’s Office of the current state law.

The Attorney General's office has said that they must abide by the statute and that it must be enforced because it is a state law. The AG's office says the law did not give permission for political signs to be on the public property originally.

The city is now entitled to make a decision on its' own regulations and have put it to a vote as of Wednesday. On Wednesday, the City’ Council’s Planning, Licenses, and Development Committee, in a 3-1 vote, voted for prohibiting the signs, which will comply with the AG's interpretation of the law.

The resolution will go to full council on Thursday at about 7 p.m.

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