Mayor’s political signs in violation of Harbison HOA covenants

Irmo Mayor Barry Walker is running for re-election and is in violation of the homeowners association rules in Harbison where he resides. According to the HOA’s rules and regulations a candidate cannot place campaign signs in their yards or right of way until 30 days prior to the election.

On social media, the mayor claimed a long-time fallback argument that it’s a First Amendment right of freedom of speech and that the signs can stay up. HOA’s covenants supersede town or city ordinances according to the SC Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation which is in charge of regulating HOAs in the state.

Scott Lynch, Covenants and Facilities Director of the Harbison Community Association stated that, “Our bylaws, covenants and enforcement procedures are all online and it breaks down exactly how it works.” The bylaws outline the fines residents can face for violations pertaining to political signage which is a fifty dollar per day fee until the violation is remedied. Lynch said that this has happened in the past and that ‘Our covenants are pretty clear.”

Below is a copy of the Harbison HOA bylaw pertaining to political signage:

c) Political / Campaign. One (1) temporary political sign per candidate or issue may be displayed on a Property, visible from the street or from other Properties. Such political / Campaign sign may display only the politician’s name and party affiliation and possibly his/her contact information and be displayed no more than thirty (30) days prior to that candidate’s or proposition’s election, run-off election, primary, or referendum. Such Political / Campaign signs may not exceed 18” x 24”. All political signs must be removed within seven (7) days after that candidate’s or proposition’s election, run-off, primary, or referendum. The location of this type of sign(s) must be set back from any road right-of-way a minimum of fifteen (15’).

The election will be held on November 7 and the earliest political signage should show up in the Harbison community would be October 7.