Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Warnings issued over signs

Some property owners displaying yellow and black signs could face legal action if they are not taken down. Photo / Stephen Parker
Some property owners displaying yellow and black signs could face legal action if they are not taken down. Photo / Stephen Parker

Rotorua Lakes Council will be checking up on people displaying yellow and black signs on their properties after eight of the signs were found to have broken rules in the district plan.

The signs erected around Rotorua on private property were put there by members of the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group with the permission of the property owners.

The signs have carried messages critical of council policies but over the holiday period have displayed more festive messages.

The council's compliance solutions manager Neven Hill said letters were sent to property owners in October advising them of their obligations under the district plan.

He said any sign not on a road came under rules set out in the district plan and the council deemed the yellow and black signs to be temporary.

Temporary signs are allowed to be up for no more than three separate six-week periods, must be less than 3sq m in size and not greater than 2m in height.

Permanent signage requires a resource consent.

"Some of the signs were too big and all have been up longer than permitted for temporary signs of this nature on private property," Mr Hill said.

"The breaches were found following complaints from members of the public."

Mr Hill said if sign owners failed to comply with the rules they would be sent a follow-up letter.

"If they still do not comply an abatement notice would be issued and if they did not comply with that, they could receive an infringement of $750 for failing to comply with an abatement notice. The next step after that could be legal action."

Mr Hill said staff would be checking the signs again next week.

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group chairwoman and district councillor Glenys Searancke said the group felt the signs were of a temporary nature as the messages displayed on them were changed regularly.

"This sort of sign has not been seen around Rotorua before. Those with them on their fences are very happy to have them there.

"The wording on these signs changes every six weeks, sometimes more often, they are temporary signs as the message on them changes regularly.

"They have complied with the size regulations."

She said as October's election approached the signs would become more political in nature bringing attention to what she believed were important issues for the community to consider.

"Some enjoy them, some don't like them, that's a fact of life, we are all different. We just want to draw attention to those issues.

"Very often in Rotorua local body elections go by in the blink of an eye without anyone getting revved up. We want to keep these signs up."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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