Trump Sign Trumps Local Zoning

A Capital Gazette article (2016-04-21) reported that Anne Arundel County has decided to allow a resident to keep a homemade sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the roof of his barn despite running afoul of local zoning laws. The decision was based on a United States Supreme Court decision last year in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which held that local sign regulations that have different restrictions based on content (political, ideological, or directional) are unconstitutional. As a result of Reed, many jurisdictions have had to review and potentially revise their local signage ordinances. From the article:

Anne Arundel County warned David Riggs, a 49-year-old entrepreneur, that it was against county ordinances to have a sign on the roof of his barn. But the county has rescinded that citation, saying the county sign ordinances need to be reviewed in light of a recent Supreme Court case ruling. …

The sign is held together by a wooden frame on the top of an old tobacco barn. The county said the sign needed to come down for safety reasons.

Daniel Kane, director of inspections and permits, wrote in his letter that County Executive Steve Schuh “directed me to rescind that notice because the County’s signage laws are under review for conformance with the U.S. and Maryland Constitution.” …

The county executive has directed the Office of Law to review Anne Arundel County’s sign ordinances and to “initiate any legislation needed to bring into compliance with the U.S. and Maryland constitutions,” according to the letter.

In the meantime, the county executive “has directed that signs containing political speech not be subject to enforcement activity,” according to the letter.

Useful Links

Reed v. Town of Gilbert (United States Supreme Court, 2015-06-18)

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