Recently, the town of Hollywood Park underwent a consideration of changes to the cities sign ordinance. Of importance to Realtors was a provision mandating property owners purchase a permit in order to place a commercial sign on their private property. Included in the definition of Commercial Signs are Realtor “For Sale” and “For Rent” signs. SABOR strongly opposed the measure which was far too restrictive towards an individual’s private property rights, and harmful to residents, local businesses, the real estate industry, and the city.
A required permit and fee imposes limitations on residents from showcasing information of vital interest to consumers who are looking for a home in the community. The ordinance would have an impact on one of the most important decisions citizens have a right to make – where to live and raise their families. Members of the public who need directional information for short-term events, such as real estate open houses, yard sales, or similar activities that routinely occur in residential neighborhoods would be impacted by the costly restrictions which SABOR believes would have run counter to the city’s intended goal of the creation of a convenient and attractive community.
Citing both industry-related issues and private property rights concerns including the unintended consequences associated with the one-size-fits-all approach of regulating commercial and temporary contractor signs in residential zones. Treating all content-based commercial signs the same would have forced homeowners to fill out an application for a permit and ask permission from the city to legally place a youth sports league or home security sign in their front yard because it contained a “commercial message”.
SABOR staff worked with members of City Council and the City attorney to ensure property owners rights were taken into consideration when drafting this new ordinance. Any new sign regulation should seek to provide an appropriate balance between private property rights and community standards while keeping intact property owners First Amendment rights of free speech.
While the Hollywood Park City Council needed to ensure that the rules and guidelines put in place were narrowly tailored to achieve the municipality’s interest in the safety of its citizens and in the integrity of its neighborhoods, SABOR urged them to reconsider the adoption of the ordinance and regulate real estate signs in a manner that met the signage needs of their residents and the real estate industry.
This is a perfect example of a local issue which could have negatively impacted the real estate industry. SABORs political jurisdiction is made up of 9 counties and 66 local municipalities and it continues to be crucial for members to stay informed and vigilant on what is happening in their communities.