In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert establishing that the town’s sign code violated the First Amendment freedom of speech by imposing more stringent restrictions on certain categories of signs based on the messages conveyed instead of in a content-neutral manner.
The court held that for a sign code to be considered content-neutral, an enforcement officer should not have to read the sign to determine the sign’s type and which sign code provisions should apply. In other words, a content-neutral sign code looks only to the sign’s size, height, structure,
material, shape, placement or other characteristics to determine how to regulate it instead of its content. Therefore, regulating political and real estate signs differently than other types of signs necessitates reading the sign in order to regulate it, and thus violates the First Amendment.
Click on the PDF above to read the entire article, published in the Colorado Real Estate Journal.