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Report investigates signs at Hwy 43/10th Ave.
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Report investigates signs at Hwy 43/10th Ave.

Grand jury says county has jurisdiction, should enforce signage codes

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乐动体育Kings County officials should crack down on a cluster of signs where 10th Avenue dead-ends into Highway 43, according to a Kings County grand jury report.

The signs are familiar to anybody driving north on 10th Avenue to Highway 43. They are on the east side of Highway 43 facing drivers stopped at the T-intersection to turn left or right onto the highway.

Most of the signs are attached a fence paralleling the highway. Some are stuck in the ground on the east side of the fence. A few are stuck in the ground between the highway shoulder and the fence.

乐动体育The February report, which is available online, states that jurisdiction over the signs falls “directly on Kings County and not the City of Hanford.”

The report goes on to criticize the county for not having a designated code enforcement officer. Grand jurors recommend that county officials budget for a code enforcement officer.

乐动体育The report also finds that there is an “inadequate level of communication and coordination” of code enforcement efforts between Hanford and county officials.

When the Sentinel checked into who has jurisdiction, it turned out that Caltrans has jurisdiction over most of the signs.

乐动体育A grand jury spokesperson couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The county Board of Supervisors has 90 days to issue a written response to the report.

乐动体育The fence along the east side of Highway 43 was put up by Caltrans and is Caltrans property, according to Clarence Dutra, who owns nearby property.

That would mean that everything from the eastern edge of the roadway to the fence – and including the fence – is Caltrans’ jurisdiction.

Dutra co-owns the parcel of land east of the fence with his wife, Jackie. Dutra said they bought the property in the 1950s before the highway was built.

Jackie Dutra said they gave permission for some of the signs on their property, but not for those on the fence or along the road.

“Sometimes I just want to stop and pull every one of them down,” she said of the signs on the fence. “They look trashy.”

乐动体育Caltrans Spokeswoman Tami Conrado confirmed that Caltrans owns the fence. She said Caltrans workers will remove the signs in the Caltrans right-of-way on Monday, including the signs on the fence.

Caltrans rules generally forbid attaching signs to a Caltrans-owned fence, according to Conrado.

Conrado said the removed signs will be held for pickup at Caltrans’ maintenance yard in Lemoore.

Conrado said the few signs east of the fence are out of Caltrans’ jurisdiction. County signage codes apply to those individual signs, but they probably don’t violate county codes.

There are some county codes that restrict the placement of signs if they obstruct the view of drivers.

Because the signs are on the east side of Highway 43 and are parallel to the highway, they don’t appear to interfere with traffic visibility.

Deputy County Administrative Officer Rebecca Campbell said county officials would do their own investigation as part of their required response to the report.

She said that if there are any sign violations, county officials would deal with the problem.

She also said there is no money allocated in the budget for a designated county enforcement officer.

County code enforcement duties are being handled by county building inspectors.

The reporter can be reached at snidever@addaptcreative.com or 583-2432. Follow him on Twitter @snidever.

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