By Charleston County
Charleston County’s Zoning and Planning Department is increasing its efforts to discourage roadside littering along public rights of way in the unincorporated areas of Charleston County. The renewed focus is designed to take a comprehensive approach toward improving the environment along the lowcountry’s roadways.
“The goal is to decrease deliberate litter violations that appear in the form of illegal dumping and especially the proliferation of prohibited signs in public rights of way,” said Brandon White, a planner and code enforcement officer with the County’s Zoning & Planning Department.
Posting signs on utility poles, trees, or along public rights of way in the unincorporated areas of the County is prohibited and it is a violation of Charleston County Sign Regulations.
“Businesses might consider putting signs up along the road a convenient means of providing information, but the proliferation of snipe signs along local roadways creates a dangerous level of visual clutter for motorists, and it eventually becomes scenes of discarded litter both on and along local roadways,” White said. “Unfortunately, whether it’s the accumulation of prohibited signs or garbage, littering tends to attract more littering, and we have to change that pattern.”
The County has already begun concentrating on the following three components as part of the litter prevention efforts:
- Targeted code enforcement efforts in litter prone areas
- More engagement with the community, particularly nonprofit agencies, neighborhood associations, community volunteers and area business stakeholders
- Increased public education/awareness about litter regulations
- An article in Charleston County’s Environmental Management Newsletter, which will go to every postal patron in the County
- Interviews with local media outlets
- An updated Zoning & Planning Department webpage to include:
- More user-friendly information for residents and stakeholders
- Improved access to the Charleston County Litter Control Ordinance and Charleston County Sign Regulations
Targeted code enforcement efforts began on July 30, 2012, in litter prone areas of the County. Some important facts to know are:
- The penalties for littering in Charleston County are: court-ordered community service, a maximum fine of $500, and/or a maximum of 30 days in jail.
- In regards to prohibited signs, each sign is considered an individual offense and each day a prohibited sign remains posted is an individual offense.
- Prohibited signs may be impounded without notice to the sign owner; if the impounded signs are not reclaimed within 10 days they may be disposed of without notice to the sign owner.
- Real estate signs, posted on the property for which they are advertising, are exempt from the County sign regulations.
- Political signs are not regulated by Charleston County, however, signs that pose safety hazards or significantly obstruct vision along roadways will be removed.
The public is asked to report roadside litter from moving vehicles through one of the following methods:
- PalmettoPride’s 24-hour Litter Busters Hotline
- 1-877-7LITTER (754-8837) or dial #LB on your AT&T or Alltel phone (toll-free) and report the time of violation, name of County, name of the road, the car’s make/model/color, the car’s license plate state and number, and description of the litter.
- Another option is to write down the above information and submit to Litter Busters through an online form located at palmettopride.org/programs/enforcement/report-a-litterbug.
- The S.C. Department of Public Safety will send a letter to the address associated with the vehicle informing the recipient that they can’t get away with littering in South Carolina. The letter will explain that if a law enforcement officer had witnessed the littering, it could have resulted in a serious fine or even jail time.
- The appropriate municipal police department
- The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office
- The S.C. Highway Patrol.
To request someone to speak about litter regulations, or for more information on this topic, visit www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/Planning/index.htm or contact the Charleston County Zoning & Planning Department at 202-7200.