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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Westport’s Political Lawn Sign Rule Getting Attention

Westport’s rule regarding placing political lawn signs out on private property is getting some attention in the state and region and it’s not positive.

The Associated Press today picked up a front-page story in The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk reporting on a Connecticut Civil Liberties Union letter to towns and cities warning that limits on political lawn signs could violate free speech.

The issue has cropped up because of a complaint about Westport’s 60-day limit on the posting of campaign signs on residential property.

The CCLU has threatened legal action against Westport if the town fails to amend its zoning regulations.

The regulation states that temporary signs may be posted on residential property for “public, political and charitable purposes” no more than 60 days before an event and must be removed within seven days after the event.

Westport Zoning Director Katherine Barnard acknowledged that the time limitations need to be removed and, until they are, would not be enforced.

“The Town of Westport recognizes the importance of allowing our citizens to express freely their political preferences ... I have discussed this issue with the Town Attorney, who agrees that the zoning regulations need to be amended to remove the time limitations,” Barnard wrote to the CCLU.

CCLU Executive Director Teresa Younger said the regulation needs to come off of Westport’s books and other municipalities deserve a warning to look for similar regulations.

“If there’s an ordinance passed in one community, others look at that same ordinance. This is not just a one-town problem. We need to educate all 169 towns” in the state, Younger said, according to the AP.

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Posted 07/28/04 at 03:15 PM  Permalink



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