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Federal Judge Takes Sign Ordinance Argument Under Advisement
Updated May 19, 2017 6:38 AM
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(BEDFORD) - Federal judge Sarah Evans Baker took under advisement arguments presented in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on Wednesday regarding a lawsuit filed against the City of Bedford by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana over its sign ordinance .

The two sides presented evidence and oral arguments in front of Judge Baker on Wednesday during a hearing on a preliminary injunction, which was filed by the ACLU of Indiana.

Jan Mensz represented the ACLU. Attorney Liberty Roberts of the Indianapolis law firm Church, Church, Hittle and Antrim, along with Bedford attorney Greg Pittman, represented the city.

For years, Shaw has placed hand-painted 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.

The changes the council made addressed some, but not all, of the issues raised in the lawsuit.

The changes removed a section concerning signs in windows and removed restrictive and vague language. The primary issues now concern the size and number of temporary signs allowed in residential areas.

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