Sign Language: Does Your Zoning Code Speak the 2018 Version?

APA Ohio Cleveland Section


Friday, November 2, 2018
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. EDT

CM | 1.50

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Have you updated your sign regulations in the wake of Reed versus Gilbert? Does your code leave you vulnerable to a claim that it violates the First Amendment? Is the on-site/off-site distinction intact? What does content neutrality mean? How do you craft legislation that protects the aesthetic character of your community while allowing business to thrive? This session will look at the status of first amendment issues pertaining to sign regulations and best practices in sign code development. We’ll discuss how to craft content-neutral regulations, and what type of content-based distinctions are relatively safe. We’ll consider sign regulations from various perspectives, including the business community, neighborhood residents, and zoning administrators, before discussing the recommended process for a successful sign code update. This will be followed by ideas and examples of best practices and how to organize your sign code to best achieve your community’s goals, with sensitivity to balancing the interests of various stakeholder groups.


Thomas Jordan

Thomas Jordan is a city planning consultant. He has experience working in the trenches administering design and code review for the City of Cleveland. Thomas became interested in the minutiae of sign regulations after observing disconnects between the desires of sign permit applicants, community stakeholders, and real world outcomes. In ... Read More

Robert Brown

Robert Brown, FAICP, is a city planning consultant with 40 years of experience working for local government and serving community organizations, developers, architects and others engaged in urban planning and development. He has specialized in writing zoning regulations and preparing comprehensive plans for urban and suburban communities. He has also ... Read More

Contact Info

Matthew Schmidt,