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Ask the Times: Hall, Gainesville have certain rules on posting campaign signs
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Coming next week
Campaign signs are popping up all over town, many in front of local businesses. We’ll take a look at why some business owners feel strongly enough to come out in public support of certain candidates.

If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get it answered. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Does Gainesville and/or Hall County have any restrictions on how soon before an election signs may be placed? Does Gainesville have any regulations concerning political signs or campaigning on public (i.e. municipal) property?

Campaign signs can be placed at any time before an election. They cannot be placed on government property, according to state law.

According to Gainesville city code, “Political signs shall be limited to one per property frontage, non-illuminated, with a maximum area of 6 square feet and maximum height of 4 feet in residential zoning districts and 24 square feet and 8 feet in height in all other zoning districts.”

Gary Kansky, with Gainesville code enforcement, said the key things they look for with signs is whether they are in the right of way or blocking what he called “sight triangles.” That means if a car is at a stop sign and the driver is looking right or left and a sign is blocking his or her vision, that sign must be removed.

Mark Lane, Hall County planning director, said he believes those who place campaign signs must have the permission of the property owners.

What are some of the oldest companies here that are still in business in Hall County?

According to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, there are six companies in Gainesville more than 100 years old. Chamber President Kit Dunlap noted that the chamber only keeps records according to what the companies report in their membership info.

Those oldest companies include:
 — AT&T
 — Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Gainesville
 — Georgia Power
 — Milliken New Holland
 — Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance
 — Riverside Military Academy

Of those, two are based locally.

Turner, Wood & Smith was founded in 1905 as the I.J. Whitworth Agency, according to the company’s website. Originally based in Lula, the agency was owned by the local banker, the website reads.

Paul Turner purchased the agency in 1946 and renamed it the Turner Insurance Agency, at some point moving it to Gainesville. The agency expanded in name and mission in 1952 when Joe T. Wood Sr. joined the agency. Roy Turner joined in 1954. In 1970, Harold Smith was added as a partner.

Riverside Military Academy was chartered Aug. 23, 1906, by Brenau College professors A.W. Van Hoose and H.J. Pearce, according to the school’s website. In 1907, it purchased 25 acres of land on the west side of Riverside Drive. The school opened September 1908.

Though not noted in the list of chamber members more than 100 years old, according to the Brenau University website, the school was founded as the Georgia Baptist Female Seminary in 1878. In 1900, H.J. Pearce purchased the institution and renamed it Brenau.

And for your trivia fact of the day, the word Brenau was formed from the German word brennen, “to burn,” and the Latin aurum, “gold.” Its motto is: “As gold refined by fire.”

Brenau College remained privately owned until 1911 when a board of trustees assumed stewardship. In 1928, Brenau created a female, residential, college-preparatory school serving ninth through 12th grades.

In the late 1960s, the school began offering evening and weekend classes to both men and women. It became Brenau University in 1992 by a vote of the Board of Trustees.

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