Sign maintenance - who's responsible?

After accident, who is responsible for sign maintenance

Who is responsible for signs 6pm

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GREENWOOD (WTHR) - The freak accident that critically injured a driver in Greenwood during bad weather on Thursday afternoon, is now raising questions about sign safety all across central Indiana.

In that accident, a 30-foot-tall sign broke off its steel posts in the wind and toppled right onto a woman's car.

After hearing concerns from you, 13 Investigates wanted to find out how those big commercial signs you see in strip malls are regulated.

Who's responsible for keeping them in proper shape?

The steel posts where this particular sign broke off appear completely rusted through.

The sign broke off right at the base of those posts.

64-year-old Kathy Velez was leaving a hair salon and was waiting to turn into traffic on Madison Avenue, when strong winds caused that sign to fall and crush her car.

Nearly a week later, Velez remained in critical condition Wednesday at Methodist Hospital.

Here's what 13 Investigates learned about who makes sure these signs are safe.

Both the cities of Greenwood and Indianapolis have ordinances about the size and location of signs.

Those ordinances do specifically say the signs have to be maintained.

But that maintenance is left up to the property owner.

In Greenwood and Indianapolis, there's no ongoing inspection of signs.

We checked with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, as well.

The state says commercial signs do not fall under their jurisdiction and they're not aware of any other agency that might inspect those structures.

The city does inspects the structures when they issue the initial permit.

But after that, there are no ongoing inspections and it's up to the property owner to keep commercial signs in good shape.

Greenwood ordinance:

All signs and components thereof shall be kept in good repair and in safe, neat, clean and attractive condition. Failure to comply will automatically revoke appropriate permits after such noncompliance has been determined by the Planning Director and notice has been given to the owner of the sign as reflected by the records of the Planning Director. Legally established signs, which were either located prior to the requirement for a sign permit or were the subject of a permit and the permit records have been subsequently destroyed, shall also be considered in violation of this provision of the Ordinance and enforcement proceedings may be initiated to compel appropriate maintenance to comply with these requirements. (Ord. 10-40, §1C3, 12-6-10)

Indianapolis/Marion County sign ordinance:

3. Maintenance of signs. All signs and sign structures shall be kept in good repair and in proper state of maintenance.

4.Maintenance and restoration of legally established nonconforming signs and sign structures.Any legally established nonconforming sign shall be permitted without alteration in size or location. Maintenance of such signs shall not include any changes made to the size, height or bulk of the sign or the temporary or permanent removal of the sign. If such sign is damaged exceeding two-thirds of its replacement value, it shall not be rebuilt except in conformance with the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that nothing herein shall prevent maintenance, repainting, or posting of legally established nonconforming signs.

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