Thursday, January 29, 2004

Yard sign restriction challenged in court



By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Nicholas Kontras wants to put signs in his yard, "such as 'No more taxes for schools,' and 'Cates for Ohio Senate.' "

And he doesn't think the township's zoning code should restrict when he can post the signs - and how many he can put on his property.

That's why Kontras and his activist group, COAST (Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes) filed a federal lawsuit against the township this week.

Alleging that the township is violating citizens' constitutional rights by restricting election and non-commercial signs, the lawsuit seeks to halt enforcement of the restrictions and to have the regulations declared unconstitutional.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court Monday.

According to the suit, the township zoning code forbids election-related signs from being posted more than 30 days before the election and requires their removal within five days afterward. The code also restricts the signs to one per issue or candidate for each 100 feet of property along a roadway. However, the code has different regulations for non-profit activities and "temporary signs for the display of special messages."

The suit also takes issue with the township's requirement for zoning certificates for certain signs.

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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