Political campaign signs can remain on Spokane lawns year-round as part of a slate of changes to the city’s laws unanimously approved Monday.
The Spokane City Council approved revisions that eliminated special conditions for signs promoting candidates, advertising garage and yard sales and notifying buyers of real estate available for sale or rent. City planners said the revisions were necessary to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled cities couldn’t regulate signs based on their content.
“This was really about balancing free speech with our need to provide regulations of signs, so that we don’t have Division Street all over our city,” said Lisa Key, planning director for the city, in a presentation to the council Monday night.
The move to change the city’s sign standards began last year, when former City Councilwoman Amber Waldref proposed a moratorium on the movement of billboards within city limits to areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, including the historic Hillyard district. The changes approved Monday night prohibit that movement.
Construction of new billboards is not allowed within city limits, but billboards displaced by road construction can be replaced. City laws governing signs were last updated in 2009.
Property owners could previously be subjected to fines of up to $536 each day for leaving a political campaign sign up after the results of an election were certified, and garage and yard sales were limited to 10 off-site signs throughout the city. The new laws require only that signs aren’t allowed to fall into disrepair or obstruct people walking.
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