Signs are an important part of our lives. We rely on signs to navigate, to warn us of dangers, to notify us of opportunities, and as a means of public discourse. For decades, sign regulation has been an important topic for municipalities and citizens alike. Municipalities often find themselves pressured to adopt sign regulation to promote the esthetic appearance of the community as well as to promote property values. On the other hand, individual residents and business owners who want to get a message out to the public, whether it is commercial, political, or simply informational in nature, often encounter regulations that increase the expense and limit the ability to speak in the manner they would like.
– Are there any limits to what a municipality can regulate in terms of signage?
– Can a government entity be violating an individual’s right to free speech by prohibiting too much signage?
– Can a government entity be violating an individual’s rights by not restricting enough speech?
The answer to all of these questions is: YES.
The constitutional boundaries imposed upon municipalities attempting to regulate signage are complex. Knowing those boundaries is the best way for municipalities to prevent having their ordinances ruled unconstitutional and at the same time, the best way an individual can seek to protect their individual rights.
If you would like to speak to a land use attorney about your municipality’s sign ordinance or an enforcement action concerning signage, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 291-3848.