What Has the Supreme Court Said About On-premise Signage?

Supreme Court cases that involve on-premise signage The 1st Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. […]

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Is Your Sign Code Content Neutral? Reed v. Gilbert Warns it Should Be

Quite often, sign codes are primarily governed by their definitions. Many of the definitions are about types of signs: temporary, projecting, banners, fascia, freestanding, pole-mounted, etc. Quite often, however, signs are defined by their content: political, real estate, commercial, yard sale, etc. If a sign is blank, you can still tell what kind of sign it […]

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SGIA Journal Features FASI Article on the Reed v. Gilbert Aftermath

Wade Swormstedt, the Executive Director for FASI, wrote an article for the SGIA Journal’s January/February 2017 issue entitled “Content Neutrality and Signs: The Reed v. Gilbert decision and the aftermath.” Although the actual article is only available online to subscribers, the basic copy is presented here. On June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of the […]

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Street Graphics Continuing Tragedy

The revision’s major purpose is skirting First Amendment rights. The following article originally appeared in the January 24, 2005 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By now, you may be sick of reading about the American Planning Assn.’s (APA) third version of Street Graphics. This will be the third consecutive month with coverage (the […]

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How Cuyahoga Falls Created a “Win-Win” Sign Code

This article, written by sign-code expert, John Gann, originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. Easy-going, local sign regulations can certainly simplify life and stimulate business for sign companies and end users alike. Understandably, many in the sign industry favor them. But, permissive sign codes can eventually bite back. […]

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How Broadview Heights, Ohio Ignored Content Neutrality

In terms of ignoring “content neutrality,” call it “North Olmsted, Part II.” The following article, written by FASI Executive Director Wade Swormstedt, originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Signs of the Times magazine.   Broadview Heights, OH, is roughly 21 miles away from North Olmsted, OH. In terms of First Amendment ignorance (or perhaps […]

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Content Neutrality Violations Noted in Michigan

The landmark content-neutrality/prior-restraint ruling from North Olmsted is cited in Thomas Township. The message cannot determine the medium. With modest apologies to Marshall McLuhan, when the medium is signage, the courts have bestowed kid-glove treatment upon content neutrality, while wholeheartedly endorsing the tenets of North Olmsted (see ST, December 1999, page 52, and April 2000, […]

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Court Overturns Madison, WI Ban on Portable Signs

  This article, written by sign-code expert, John Gann, originally appeared in the September 2002 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. Madison, WI, has been rated by Money magazine as the best medium-sized city in the United States. The city owes its amenities not only to nature and the generosity of taxpayers, but also […]

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How USSC and ISA Jointly Improved the Intl. Zoning Code

After two years of collaborative effort, the ICC, ISA and USSC release the Intl. Zoning Code’s new-and-improved sign chapter The following article originally appeared in the January 2000 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By Jennifer Flinchpaugh “An estimated 80,000 communities could have adopted the ICC’s zoning code and, by default, the problematic sign […]

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