Communities continue to grapple with revising sign codes to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Reed v. Town of Gilbert. In recent days, cities and states have faced lawsuits, questioning whether existing codes meet the Supreme Court ruling.
The court case dealt primarily with temporary signs, ensuring that communities must treat all types of temporary signs the same regardless of the message contained on them. Temporary signs have long been an important type of signage—and a complex issue for communities to navigate. The Signage Foundation has revised and updated its Best Practices in Regulating Temporary Signs to provide additional guidance in light of Reed. The research offers information on various types of signs, regulating them and ensuring that any sign codes comply with court rulings, including Reed.
“Because of Reed, real-estate, political and construction signs, etc. are now considered content-based signs because you define them by their content…While it is true that before Reed a few court cases allowed the regulation of a limited number of content-based signs, such as real estate or political signs, those decisions have now been effectively overturned by the Reed decision and should no longer be considered good law,” Wendy Moeller writes in the updated document.
Moeller, AICP, is a principal and owner of Compass Point Planning, a planning and development firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a member of the Signage Foundation’s board of directors.
In addition to the temporary signs research, the Signage Foundation has updated its analysis of the Reed case. Professor Alan Weinstein, a nationally recognized expert on planning law, provides the guidance in The State of Sign Codes After Reed v. Town of Gilbert. The analysis looks deeper into the court decision and provides guidance for communities in responding to the ruling.
Best Practices in Regulating Temporary Signs and The State of Sign Codes After Reed v. Town of Gilbert are available for free download from the Signage Foundation.