On June 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States determined in the case Reed v. Town of Gilbert there are limited circumstances where municipalities can enforce content based restrictions without infringing on First Amendment rights. Sign ordinances should not regulate based upon the content or message of the sign. Municipalities continue to have the power to regulate signs based upon time, place, and manner. Given this decision, over the past two and a half years, city staff has reviewed the current Sign Ordinance to remove content-based language, while also adjusting the ordinance to be more reader friendly, provide opportunities for temporary signage, and change penalties for illegal signage from criminal to civil.
Proposed Sign Ordinance [233KB]
Summary of Changes [86KB]
A panel discussion will be hosted by city staff to answer questions regarding the proposed sign ordinance on January 17, 2019 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in Room 011 at City Hall, 409 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. (Entrance to the basement is in the rear of the building on the west side closest to the Farmers Market Pavilion.)
Comments and questions regarding the proposed sign ordinance can be directed to Rachel.Drescher@harrisonburgva.gov or Department of Planning and Community Development, Attn: Rachel Drescher, 409 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.
Comments will be accepted until January 31, 2019.
Following the public input period, staff will review the comments and make adjustments to the proposed sign ordinance. The final draft will be presented for public hearing at Planning Commission, then presented again for public hearing at City Council.