Letter to the Editor: Don't Give Up Control Over Signs

Should signs be regulated in Woodbury? These two residents say "yes." How do you feel?


To the Editor:

The undersigned wish to add their voices to the protest against the Town of Woodbury giving up control over signs in town. We feel this is an unwise move, opening the door to a proliferation of signs, huge and small. To our mind, this is not a freedom of speech question, since nobody’s freedom to say on the signs whatever they wished was ever curtailed.

We need to differentiate between size and content. The Town cannot control content, but size is rightfully regulated by our statutes, to which we all agreed by vote. If you feel your rights have been abridged, because you want to say more on a sign than its size permits, then you should realize that anything wordier than ten words belongs on the OpEd page, and our newspapers have been very willing to print our letters.

So to our mind there is no lack of freedom of speech, or opportunity to speak up, in the town of Woodbury.

Leonore Templeton & Jean Fuller, Woodbury

Woodburian August 18, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I could not agree with these two ladies more! The physical beauty of this little town -- its quaint New England charm and beautiful old homes lining Main Street -- is probably its greatest "draw" for new businesses, new residents, even fall foliage visitors. Take that away ... line Main Street with ugly billboards promoting candidates or personal vendettas, then leave them up through the seasons until they are faded and peeling... and suddenly Woodbury looks a lot like a whole lot of other "bust" towns, littered with the equivalent of urban graffiti. What a shame that would be. It's time for those who genuinely care about Woodbury -- not a political agenda, but the TOWN -- to wake up and speak out. I just wish those who self-righteously wave the First Amendment in people's faces over this would take the time to study up on American history (paying special attention to the concept of the "common good" throughout this nation's exceptional history). "Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men..." (John Adams, "Thoughts on Government," 1776)
Sean M August 18, 2012 at 02:07 PM
You are all welcomed to your opinions, but the law and constitution have a completely different take. Woodbury's town Atty Roberts stated in writing that the Zoning Commission should repeal the 7.5.10.I regulation limiting political signs to 12 sq ft. There is an enormous amount of case law, explanation and the like on this. I suggest reviewing older minutes and the relevant information to understand what is really going on. If the town enforces this regulation as written, it will lose in court and cost the town a lot of money. The Commission already knows this, even Clarke and Overton.
tom arras August 18, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Why was it OK for Martin Overton's campaign headquarters to exceed the same regulation on political signs when he was working for his 309 votes? There was no uproar then! Where were all these people who want the regulation when our hypocritical commission chairman went against the regulation in the interest of his own personal gain? The zoning enforcement officer was aware of this and did nothing. One thing a commission chairman should not have is a double standard when it comes to attempted enforcement & action, and that is one thing our zoning commission chairman has demonstrated that he does have! Shame on Martin and his supporters. Martin should resign!
Voice of Reason August 19, 2012 at 12:58 AM
In contrast to Woodburian I'll take Individualism over Collectivism. Keep up your protests guys!
Sean M August 19, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Since when does Woodburian have a right to make someone take a sign down because he/she finds it ugly. Where does that stop? Should government make you paint your house a certain color? Tom Arras's Overturn Overton sign has been up for a year. It is 32 sq ft and the Zoning Commission still has not voted on whether it is in violation. Where are his rights? Where is the due process? Why will the commission not vote one way or another to enforce its regulations? What should the zoning commission do? The town attorney has stated that you have to have a substantial state interest to regulate political signs and someone thinking it is ugly does not qualify. Should the Zoning Commission make a rule that allows a few people to dictate how everyone's house looks? Where does this stop? Numerous attorneys have stated the regulation is unconstitutional and unenforceable. Should the Commission just ignore that? A right is a right. Tom Arras is exercising his free speech rights. There is no right not to be offended or bothered by something.


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