June 3, 2011
Cracking down on sign violations
GULFPORT — The City of Gulfport has witnessed a recent increase in the number of violations to its sign ordinance, prompting City Hall to beef up its enforcement of the regulations.
The Department of Code Enforcement removed more than 1,400 illegal signs last year, and since January, the department has pulled down more than 800 signs.
“This is becoming a rather significant issue,” said Rick Ryan, the city’s chief of code enforcement and environmental compliance. “Our sign regulations were put in place several years ago because residents came together with a common goal of a cleaner Gulfport. We now have to crack down on these types of issues if we are to reach that goal.”
The city attributes the increase in violations mostly to homemade signs on light posts, utility poles and trees. Such signs are direct violations of City Ordinance 1764, Section 9-94, which specifically prohibits posting signs on poles, post or trees.
In an effort to reduce the number of violations, the City of Gulfport is working to spread awareness of these prohibitions and others, including signs posted without a permit.
“Because these signs are not permitted, they are typically not attached properly and therefore become a littering issue over time,” Ryan said.
Sign violations usually involve multiple infractions that carry fines of up to $1,000 per day for each day of the violation. In addition, violators could be hauled into the Environmental Court for prosecution and additional penalties.
“All of us want a cleaner Gulfport. We all want a city we can be proud to show off to visitors,” Ryan said. “Simply abiding by this simple ordinance is one giant step toward reaching our goal of a better Gulfport.”
Free smoke alarms available
GULFPORT — In a partnership with the Woodsmen of the World, Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt said today his department is launching a smoke detector drive for senior citizens, handicap and low-income residents.
The Gulfport Fire Department has received a limited amount of smoke alarms and will be conducting free installations inside Gulfport homes for residents in need.
“Working smoke detectors are essential to saving lives,” Beyerstedt said. “Every building in our city should be equipped with multiple detectors, and property owners should be sure to test their alarms at home and at work at least once a month and replace the batteries annually.”
To qualify for the city’s free smoke detector installation program, the property owner must live in the home and must meet certain income stipulations.
The free smoke alarms are a gift from the Woodsmen of the World, a charitable organization, which recently held its annual convention in Gulfport.
Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people are killed in residential fires. Most people die from smoke inhalation and fumes from toxic gases, not as a result of burns. In addition, most deaths and injuries happen in nighttime fires, which too often surprise victims as they sleep.
Gulfport residents interested in the smoke detector drive should contact the city’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 1515 23rd Ave., downtown. For more information, call 868-5950. The alarms are available while they last.
Office of Public Information - firstname.lastname@example.org - Phone: 228-868-5782
P.O. Box 1780 Gulfport, MS 39502-1780 - FAX: 868-5800