“How did we get here?”
That is the question often asked when we inform our Realtor® members that their municipality is updating their temporary sign ordinance and there is a chance they might ban all temporary signs outright. The short story is that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that all temporary signs must be treated equally; that encompasses religious, political, informational and open house signs. If you’d like the long story, click here for an in-depth look into the SCOTUS ruling on Reed vs. Town of Gilbert, AZ.
The SCOTUS ruling had far reaching implications that the Supreme Court Justices knew would rattle municipality’s code books and leave them susceptible to lawsuits. In the years since the ruling was handed down, cities and towns across the country have updated their temporary sign ordinances to come into compliance with the Reed decision. An unfortunate casualty of these updates have been Realtor’s® and their ability to display open house signs. For years, the real estate industry enjoyed a generous carve out to the, often restrictive, temporary sign rules for political and “free speech” signs. That time has come to a screeching halt.
The City of Port St. Lucie engaged RAPB+GFLR in May 2018 to become an official stakeholder in the temporary sign code update discussions. Over the last 4 months, RAPB+GFLR Public Policy Staff met with City Council Members and Staff to help craft an ordinance that would bring Port St. Lucie into compliance with Reed while still providing Realtors® the ability to advertise their open houses. On Monday night, the City Council approved the new temporary sign code with almost all of our proposed regulations in tact. One major win for Realtors® was the elimination of the temporary sign permit in its entirety. While Realtors® did lose the ability to place temporary signs in the right-of-way, the City was proposing an “all or nothing” solution. It was either we give up the right-of-way or we give up the ability to place any signs out at all.
In the image below you will find a summary written by RAPB+GFLR Government Affairs Director, Bryce Sartory. It details the changes to the temporary sign ordinance that are pertinent to Realtors®. The ordinance will be effective starting October 9, 2018.
If you have further questions, please contact Bryce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-727-2762.