A political sign that was later removed sits in a field near the Mendenhall Wetlands. Rules around standalone political signs are tightly regulated in Alaska. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

A political sign that was later removed sits in a field near the Mendenhall Wetlands. Rules around standalone political signs are tightly regulated in Alaska. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Time of the signs: A rules rundown for campaign season

State road right of ways are off-limits for campaign signs.

As a campaign season that features statewide races for both chambers of U.S. Congress, state Legislature seats up for grabs and a gubernatorial contest heats up, political signs are going to become a more common sight around the capital city.

However, many of the most visible places to put signs, such as close to Alaska’s more than 5,600 miles of state roads, are not fair play, and subject to confiscation by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, according to the department’s website.

Signs are allowed on private property, said DOTPF spokesperson Sam Dapcevich, but not in the state’s right of ways, where state employees will remove the signs.

[Anchorage inmate dies in custody]

A highway right of way is a strip of land designated for transportation improvements by the state, according to the department’s website, and includes the road surface itself as well as an area beyond, which can extend hundreds of feet from the roadway. The expanse of state land in each right of way can vary; maps of the state’s right of ways are on the department’s website.

A political sign hangs from a business. Rules around standalone political signs are tightly regulated in Alaska. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

A political sign hangs from a business. Rules around standalone political signs are tightly regulated in Alaska. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“When they find in the state right of way they remove them and they bring them back to the maintenance building,” Dapcevich said in a phone interview. “People can come get them, but if there’s a repeat offender, there’s a $50 fine to get it back.”

A 2018 lawsuit allowed for temporary political campaign signs, no larger than 4 by 8 feet, to be placed on private land, according to the DOTPF’s website. It does not allow for other forms of outdoor advertising; billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising are largely prohibited, according to the department’s site.

The City and Borough of Juneau doesn’t deal with political signs, said City Manager Rorie Watt.

“It’s really more DOT. People put signs where they could be seen from the major roads,” Watt said in a phone interview. “Our roads are residential neighborhood roads and they don’t get the traffic.”

A political sign hangs from a residential fence. Rules around standalone political signs are tightly regulated in Alaska. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

A political sign hangs from a residential fence. Rules around standalone political signs are tightly regulated in Alaska. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Signs are allowed on private property outside the state’s right of ways, according to the website, as long as they conform to the 4-by-8-foot size limits, and the owner is not being paid to place it on their property.

The owner of signs that are adjacent to the right of ways but are still in violation of other regulations will be contacted with a request to bring the sign into compliance with the laws. The department is required to remove noncompliant signs at the owner’s expense, according to DOTPF.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 15

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, April 17, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Newly elected tribal leaders are sworn in during the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s 89th annual Tribal Assembly on Thursday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Photo courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
New council leaders, citizen of year, emerging leader elected at 89th Tribal Assembly

Tlingit and Haida President Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson elected unopposed to sixth two-year term.

A waterfront view of Marine Parking Garage with the windows of the Juneau Public Library visible on the top floor. “Welcome” signs in several languages greet ships on the dock pilings below. (Laurie Craig / For the Juneau Empire)
The story of the Marine Parking Garage: Saved by the library

After surviving lawsuit by Gold Rush-era persona, building is a modern landmark of art and function.

A troller plies the waters of Sitka Sound in 2023. (Photo by Max Graham)
Alaska Senate proposes $7.5 million aid package for struggling fish processors

The Alaska Senate has proposed a new aid package for the state’s… Continue reading

Current facilities operated by the private nonprofit Gastineau Human Services Corp. include a halfway house for just-released prisoners, a residential substance abuse treatment program and a 20-bed transitional living facility. (Gastineau Human Services Corp. photo)
Proposed 51-unit low-income, long-term housing project for people in recovery gets big boost from Assembly

Members vote 6-2 to declare intent to provide $2M in budget to help secure $9.5M more for project.

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives watch as votes are tallied on House Bill 50, the carbon storage legislation, on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House, seeking to boost oil and gas business, approves carbon storage bill

Story votes yes, Hannan votes no as governor-backed HB 50 sent to the state Senate for further work.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, April 16, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read