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City Of Bedford Amends Sign Ordinance

Last updated on Thursday, December 22, 2016

(BEDFORD) - Bedford City Council amended an ordinance governing property owners’ use of signs Monday during a special city council meeting.

The ordinance covers the location, size, and quantity of signs on residential and non-residential property and comes after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf of resident Sam Shaw.

Shaw, for years, has placed signs expressing his opinions in his yard on I Street.

In September, Shaw received a letter from the city's planning director informing him that he was in violation of the city's new sign ordinance. If Shaw didn't remove his signs, he faced a $300 per day fine. Shaw removed the signs.

However, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Shaw on October 31 said the city's sign ordinance violated Shaw's First and the Fourteenth Amendment Constitutional rights.

In a statement, the City of Bedford says they disagree that the sign ordinance was unconstitutional, but that the new ordinance has been changed to quote "unquestionably comply" with a 2015 Supreme Court case's precedent and still achieve "virtually the same results."

City council members voted to remove restrictive language that covers sign usage in residential areas. The previous law had categories for signs based on their usage such like yard sale, political and for sale signs.

Now signs only have to comply with square footage restrictions, but nothing in the ordinance defines sign content or usage.

The city decided to amend the ordinance instead of spending money in a drawn-out litigation with the ACLU.

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