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Party signs burned

Allegations about roadside campaign signs being stolen, burned or otherwise vandalized are running rampant in the town of Ballston, where a contentious race is under way for town council seats.

We've had thirty signs stolen and five burned down that we know of, said Patti Southworth, Democratic candidate for town council. "They're all a quarter-mile from our home. It's intimidation, that's what it is."

Southworth said she filed complaints with local law enforcement Monday, and police are now on the lookout for any tampering going on with political signs throughout the town.

"They're watching the whole town," said Southworth. "It's unsettling that someone would be desperate enough to stoop to this. It's like everything in the town; they don't see it happening."

Town zoning officials, who set the laws about campaign signage, said they have had complaints about missing signs, signs exceeding maximum height standards, and signs deliberately stacked to obscure an opponent's campaign sign, but they said the ordinances can be difficult to enforce.

"I've had so many complaints about too many signs out there, and some are too large," said Anton Rohrmeier, zoning enforcer. "I've spoken to some of the candidates to try and correct the situations. This year seems to be worse than normal, and I'm not happy with it."

Ordinances governing political signage are vague and generalized, admits town zoning chairman Michael Lesniak.

The laws are limited to the following:

Political signs are only required to be set up no earlier than 45 days prior to the election, and must be removed within 15 days following the election.

In any zone, only one stationary sign per candidate is permitted on any one parcel of land and shall not exceed 6 feet in height.

The total number of signs on any one parcel shall not exceed a total area of 32 square feet.

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