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County won't approve SADD billboards

March 04, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

A group of North Hagerstown High School students appealed to the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday for permission to erect a sign at "destructive decisions" sites in the county.

Students Against Destructive Decisions hopes that the signs would deter others from drunken driving, suicide or other destructive behavior, said Nicole Stevens, a senior who is vice president of the group, formerly known as Students Against Drunk Driving.

Concern was expressed that putting the signs near roads might distract drivers.

"We understand why you want to do it," County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said. But he said he can't ignore concerns of Public Works Director Gary Rohrer and others.

"In good conscience we can't go along with it," Iseminger said.

Stevens said the sign would be no more distracting then other signs near roads.

After Stevens explained the group's proposal in more detail, opposition to the idea softened. The County Commissioners took no vote, however.

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The signs would be placed on private property with permission from victims' families and property owners, Stevens said.

It will cost the group about $90 to have each 2-foot-by-3-foot sign made. The signs would say "destructive decision fatality" and list SADD's name, Stevens said.

While the county can object to signs placed on roads' rights-of-way, it can't bar signs from private property, Rohrer said.

That would fall under the jurisdiction of a county sign ordinance. County Attorney Richard Douglas offered to meet with the group to explain the ordinance to them.

After the meeting, Commissioner Paul L. Swartz said program organizers told him they talked to Douglas and concluded the ordinance should pose no problem to their plans.

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