2018 National Planning Conference

Drafting Content-Neutral Sign Codes

Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 2:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. CDT

Location: Great Hall B

CM | 2.25
L | 1.50

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Deep Dive Sessions

Activity ID: NPC189006


  • How to summarize and discuss the evolution of sign code regulations (nationally)
  • How to use relevant case law and ramifications of Reed vs. the Town of Gilbert to better determine whether a local sign-code update is necessary
  • How to draft or recommend content-neutral sign regulations


Municipalities across the nation continue to grapple with the local planning impacts of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, questioning whether or not to amend their sign codes or wait for further clarification from new sign-case rulings. Concerns remain about amendments going too far, or not far enough. Similarly, confronting sticky issues like temporary and off-premise signage can present pitfalls for municipalities unfamiliar with the zoning, signage, and legal implications of their decision-making. In this session, participants will be presented with a lively zoning background and case-law history relevant to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Gilbert, followed by two recent, successful Louisiana case studies of comprehensive, content-neutral sign-code amendments. Case studies will provide local planning and zoning context for Baton Rouge (population about 220,000) and St. John the Baptist Parish (population over 43,000). Participants will learn how planning directors approached updating their codes, what resources they used, how they cultivated civic participation in the planning process, and how they had the difficult discussions with both elected officials and the general public.

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This session has been identified as a great opportunity to learn about the local Louisiana/Mississippi gulf coast region.
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Session Speakers

Frank M. Duke, FAICP
City of Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, LA

Alexandra G. Carter, AICP
St. John The Baptist Parish
La Place, LA

Evelyn C. Campo
Metairie, LA

Brian J. Connolly
Otten Johnson
Denver, CO

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