New ordinance eases rules on political signs
The Susanville City Council approved a new temporary sign ordinance at its Wednesday, Feb. 20 meeting allowing temporary signs on private property with minimal restrictions and allowing signs within the public right-of-way with more restrictions in order to protect the public.
Community Development Director Bill Nebeker told the council eventually the entire sign ordinance must be amended to conform with recent case law, but “at this time only the section regarding temporary signs is being addressed.”
Temporary noncommercial-type signs include political campaign signs and other signs expressing an individual’s viewpoint toward any manner of freedom-of-speech issues.
The new ordinance does not affect the placement of temporary signs for real estate sales, contractor construction signs or commercial sandwich board signs, which are currently addressed in an alternate section of the sign ordinance.
The ordinance also prohibits temporary noncommercial-type signs to be located on public property.
The ordinance states, “The City Council recognizes that signs constitute speech protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution … and that its regulations of signs must be consistent with … protections.
“… the City Council finds that an uncontrolled proliferation of signs within the city is harmful to the public’s health, safety and welfare, in that such signs are aesthetically displeasing and can cause traffic hazards if the time, place and manner of the presentation of such signs are not regulated, including such concerns as drivers being distracted by attempting to read an excessive number of signs that are placed in a haphazard manner.”
Public right of way
Temporary signs, any portion of which are located within the public right of way, shall be limited in size to 4 square feet and shall not exceed 3 feet from the highest point on the ground on which the sign is placed to the top of the sign and be limited to one sign per candidate per 50 feet of roadside linear footage.
17.128.160 Temporary noncommercial signs
The new ordinance states that temporary signs may be erected or placed on private property or in the public right-of-way … provided that the owner or tenant in possession of the property gives permission. Also the owner or tenant immediately adjacent to the public right-of-way where the sign is placed must also give permission.
Temporary signs are not allowed on public property.
Temporary signs cannot be placed on, attached to, or placed to interfere with utility poles, street trees, traffic control devices, fire hydrants, meter boxes, utility poles, private and publicly owned signs, street pavement, paved or unpaved public walkways or median strips between traffic lanes.
Temporary signs cannot obstruct pedestrians’ or motorists’ view of oncoming or crossing vehicular or pedestrian traffic at street intersections, alleys and driveways.
A temporary sign must be removed no later than 90 days after it is erected or 10 days following the date of the event, campaign, promotion, election or other activity to which the sign pertains, whichever first occurs.
The owner of a temporary sign shall be responsible for its removal.
The city reserves the right to remove any sign that doesn’t comply with the ordinance.
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