Panama City Beach Wanting to Limit Campaign Signs in City - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Beach Wanting to Limit Campaign Signs in City

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fl - In this election season, campaigns are out in force trying to get their candidate elected by putting signs anywhere they legally can.

But, Panama City Beach wants to limit the number of those signs allowed on the island.

Signage is not a new topic, but this is the first time the City Council has addressed political signage regulation through a proposed ordinance. If it takes effect, it could mean big changes for candidates.

Panama City Beach Mayor, Gayle Oberst, said local candidates put their signs up nearly 4 months before the April election

"Everyone was just sick of those signs," said Oberst.

Which is why the Council has drafted an ordinance to determine how many signs can appear on one piece of property and how long a sign can stay up before and after an election without impeding free speech.

"If they have put ten signs on that one property in lawn, that's a bit overzealous. You've had your freedom of speech," said Oberst.

If enacted, Code Enforcement will be in charge of assuring both candidates and residents play by the rules.

"It's interesting. You can put a "Gayle Oberst for Mayor" sign and an "I Believe in Taking Care of the Whales" sign. That's free speech. You can have two of them. But you can't have two "Vote for Gayle Oberst" in your same front yard," said Oberst.

This is something that could make it difficult for first time candidates vying for name recognition.

Beach resident, Kim Knight, has multiple signs up for her mother who's running for a Mosquito Control seat.

"I think it's important, especially for family members and loved ones to be able to really get the signage out there. We can't to huge signs, we can't do billboards. So, it's nice to have the ability to put multiple signs out for attention," said Knight.

Knight said, while the signs aid their campaign, the ordinance would help keep the beach clean, especially after the election is over.

"I think the bigger problem is when they're left up after elections and people don't clean up after themselves. The same way they scour the neighborhoods looking for a great spot, we should be out there picking them up when we're done," said Knight.

The first reading of the ordinance is Thursday at 2pm at the Beach Council meeting in City Hall.