To the Editor:
There has been a great deal of rhetoric, both verbal and written, regarding Woodbury's political sign regulation. Let's move all of the acrimony, finger pointing, anger and politicizing off the table; and let's look at the heart of the issue.
Freedom of speech is a guarantee under the First Amendment of our Constitution. Nevertheless, freedom of speech has its limitations and restrictions. These limitations and restrictions are well documented and easily ascertainable.
When legal actions are brought to challenge a municipality's regulation and the basis of challenge is "freedom of speech", the courts, both state courts as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, look for two criteria: (i) does the regulation restrict or limit what an individual can say or is it "content neutral"; and (ii) does the regulation discriminate (all signs can be 5 x 6, but political signs must be 3 x 4).
The town attorney has proposed the following amendment of the current political sign regulation:
"Political Signs: One or more signs, the total aggregate amount of signage per property not to exceed the greater of (i) 12 square feet or (ii) the maximum aggregate amount of signage which would be allowed on the property under the regulations applicable to the district in which the property is located."
The proposed amendment meets both criteria: (i) it is "content neutral" and does not restrict or limit freedom of speech and (ii) it does not discriminate since it allows political signs, in a particular district, to be the same size as any other sign which is allowed in that particular district.
Speak or write to the members of Woodbury's Zoning Commission. Encourage them to adopt the proposed amendment.
Richard C. Snider, Woodbury