Sign Regulation after Reed vs. Gilbert

Now Available from APA Learn

This course is now offered on the APA Learn educational platform.

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Certification Maintenance

CM | 1.50
L | 1.50

You'll learn about:

  • Typical issues with sign regulations following Reed vs. Town of Gilbert.

  • Options for changing the regulatory strategy to respond to the risk of challenges, and the key first steps to take in response to a challenge.

  • Areas of sign regulation not disturbed by Reed, and how they should continue to be regulated.

Reports of the death of sign regulation have been greatly exaggerated. Lower federal courts have overwhelmingly held that cities can continue to regulate off-premise signs and commercial signs following Reed vs. Town of Gilbert, but there are significant new areas of potential challenges to sign regulations and other local regulations of First Amendment-protected speech.

A panel of leading legal experts—including the chair of APA's amicus curiae committee and the co-authors of APA's amicus brief in Reed v. Gilbert—discuss strategies and tactics for defensible and practical sign regulation in the post-Reed era. Learn about key issues in sign regulation, including temporary sign regulation, the role of preambles and definitions, permit requirements, exemptions, the treatment of government signs, and enforcement. This session explores regulatory strategies appropriate in different kinds of communities (i.e., small/large, urban/rural, and growth-focused/regulation-focused).

About the Speakers

Susan Trevarthen
SUSAN L. TREVARTHEN, ESQ., FAICP chairs the Municipal Land Use and Zoning practice and is a Member of the law firm of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L. in Fort Lauderdale. She handles land use, planning and zoning matters for governments, and is Town Attorney for two small coastal communities in South Florida. Her work includes reviewing and negotiating development agreements and approvals, drafting municipal codes and plans, advising municipal staffs, managers and attorneys, defending challenges to municipal regulations and decisions, handling public hearings, and counseling elected officials, as well as advocating for municipalities on legislative issues in her field. Her practice also includes constitutional law issues (such as regulation of First Amendment-protected land uses including signs, places of worship and adult uses, and takings and Harris Act issues); hot topics in zoning law such as medical marijuana, sober houses and vacation rentals; and public school facilities. Ms. Trevarthen is board certified in City, County and Local Government Law by the Florida Bar, has been recognized as one of the top land use attorneys in the state in publications such as Florida Trend Magazine and SuperLawyers, and is AV rated. Ms. Trevarthen has held leadership positions in the Florida Bar’s Section for Environmental and Land Use Law and Section for City, County and Local Government Law. Susan grew up in Boca Raton, Florida. She was graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a joint degree in law and planning (M.R.P. and J.D., 1991) and from Duke University (A.B., 1986).

John Baker
John M. Baker is one of the founding partners of Greene Espel PLLP in Minneapolis. He has represented cities, counties, planning officials, and other public officials for over 25 years. He also taught land use law at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul from 2006 to 2014. He is a co-author of the 2015 edition of "Street Graphics and the Law," an APA publication. He is also the author of several articles about constitutional litigation, particularly in the fields of land use and free expression. He is also a regular presenter in state and national seminars on constitutional and statutory issues. He currently serves as the chair of the APA's amicus committee.