Sunday, October 21, 2018

Suppressing Yard Signs is a Class Privilege

In most suburban neighborhoods, political yard signs are prohibited by the Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions that the Homeowners Association enforces.

This rule is meant to promote civility and prevent conflict.

It is a sign of class privilege.  It assumes that, no matter who wins the election, the suburbanites will be protected.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's a very tenuous jump.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is meant to preserve aesthetics.

Michael McCarty said...

As a matter of law, there can be no outright ban on such signs. In CITY OF LADUE v. GILLEO, (1994), the US Supreme Court struck down such a ban as a violation of the right to free speech. While some content neutral bans, e.g., no more than ten signs on a piece of private property, any municipality or homeowners association that purports to have such an enforceable ban better have their errors and omissions and directors and officers premiums paid up.

Gilleo has been enforced in numerous states and localities since 1994 and is still good law.

Gruntled said...

That is a helpful primer on the law. I can report, though, that both residents and HOA members believe that political yard signs are prohibited.

Barry said...

The sign issue also applies to "For Sale" signs. Many POAs prohibit them for the same ambience reasons.

Michael McCarty said...

As a former officer of a Home Owners Association, I am well aware of the disdain some zealots hold for the Constitution when it comes to yard signs. ("We don't want our beautiful community to look like a, well, you know, some of 'those' neighborhoods.") Right after Gilleo, Boards were more careful in reining in the architectural guidelines police, but with the passage of time, loss of institutional memory, and the general diffidence of many Americans today, the 'Banners' soon reasserted themselves. The "Ban 'em 'til we're sued" mentality is alive and well.

Gruntled said...

Good point. That is what I am seeing.

Barry said...

Michael and Beau: What is your opinion on community zoning?

Gruntled said...

Would you define that for me? Not a term I know.

Barry said...

Zoning ordinances or laws regulate use of land(single family, multi-family, business, industrial etc),building setbacks, height of buildings, drainage requirements etc. Danville and most communities have this.

Gruntled said...

Ah, yes - zoning. I think it is sensible to have some. I think the bias should be for mixed use.