Salem is going to begin cracking down on local businesses who violate the town's sign ordinance.
Following a unanimous vote by the Board of Selectmen at Monday night's meeting, action will be taken now on a more accelerated basis by town employees to curb violations.
Selectman Jim Keller said the issue was first raised last year while he was Planning Board chairman.
"The number of ovbious violations has increased dramatically," Keller said.
He noted the two biggest problems involve businesses who put their signs in the town right-of-way and others who have signs that aren't part of their approved site plan.
"A business owner abides by the rules and is getting penalized because the town's not enforcing sign ordinances that we have," Keller said.
Salem Community Development Director Bill Scott said his department has been keeping track of violators through photographs and video. Now, signs illegally in town right-of-ways will automatically be removed.
Previously, a sign permit would cost $40 but that price has been reduced to $10. Scott said this allows for signs three times a year in 14-day intervals.
If businesses don't heed the calls to take care of sign violations, Scott said the town could take them to court.
"I hope we can do it without going to court," said Selectman Everett McBride. "I think it's a waste of taxpayers' money."
McBride cited the town's other needs instead of spending money taking people to court over signs.