U.S. Supreme Court Further Restricts Municipal Sign Regulations
On June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Reed v. Town of Gilbert. The opinion follows a continuing judicial trend of limiting municipal regulations governing signs and billboards. The opinion concludes that ordinance provisions containing content-based restrictions are likely unconstitutional.
The Town of Gilbert, Arizona, enacted a sign ordinance that defined various types of signs and restricted the different types of signs in different ways. For example, the ordinance included definitions for temporary directional signs, ideological signs, and political signs. Based on the type of sign, it then limited how long the sign could be posted. (Temporary directional signs could be posted no sooner than 12 hours before an event and for one hour after the event, but ideological or political signs could be posted for much longer.)
A church in the town regularly changed the location of its services. Each week, the church used temporary directional signs to guide parishioners to the appropriate location. The signs were in place longer than allowed by the town’s ordinance, and the town cited the church for the violations.