Sunday, March 1, 2015

Are sign regulations unconstitutional?

From Capital New York:

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals will allow a constitutional challenge to city zoning laws that regulate what kinds of signs can be displayed in a person's window.

The order on Friday stems from a federal suit filed by Brigitte Vosse, a fashion designer who owns a condominium in the Ansonia, an apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Vosse constructed an illuminated peace sign to hang from her 17th floor living room window in December 2010. In court filings, she claimed that the sign was part of her opposition to war and American military policy abroad and that the regulations violated her First Amendment rights.

In September 2011, Vosse was fined $800 and forced to remove the peace sign by the city’s Environmental Control Board, which found that it violated a zoning regulation banning signs at heights of more than 40 feet. The E.C.B. refused to rule on the constitutionality of the law.

Vosse then sued the city in federal court, arguing that the zoning policy “disparately preferred some groups of displayers to others,” since flags, banners, and pennants are allowed at the same height, according to Zoning Resolution Section 32-62.

The case against the city was dismissed in November 2013 by federal district court judge Jed Rakoff, who ruled that Vosse had no legal standing to sue. However, Rakoff did not rule on the constitutionality of the underlying zoning regulation.

Friday’s appellate court ruling upholds Rakoff’s dismissal of the case, but a three-judge panel ruled that the lower court must review whether the zoning laws are in violation of the First Amendment.


Jerry Rotondi said...

If that's going to be the case...NO political campaign posters either. Why should politicians be exempt? My holiday wreath or Easter bunny window appliqué should be banned too? I guess I would have to scrap my Santa Claus image too. If it is inside my window I say it does not pose any danger of falling down and hurting a pedestrian. Perhaps some discretion and taste need apply to what is displayed.

Anonymous said...

That is not a commercial sign so F--K New York City!
A sign permit is not required.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, politicians are also exempt from the "do not call" phone registration, and can send us as many robocalls as they please.

Anonymous said...

"illuminated" signs are what's at issue - not just signs or their content.

Anonymous said...

it's a pretty sign.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's not.

Imaging if every window in NYC had an illuminated sign. The Supreme Court has already ruled that one can't say what the content is.

So every window in every building is going to have a

"I love Fishing" or
"Eat at Joe's" or
"20% off mattresses this Saturday"

or some other crap and every city, town and village will look like shit.

Be careful what you wish for. Isn't that the complaint about Flushing? That the signs are ugly and make Flushing look like CRAP in Queens?

If we have to ban all flags and banners and pennants that would be better.

If that happens the lady has accomplished not allowing the American Flag.

What a noble cause she might think that is. Not I.

Jerry Rotondi said...

I am talking about posters, not robo calls. Pol's get away with breaking or skirting the law almost all of the time anyway. Has John Liu paid his fines for illegally placing his campaign posters on lamp posts, etc. ?

Anonymous said...

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway
They say there's always magic in the air
But when you're walkin' down that street
And you ain't had enough to eat
The glitter rubs right off and you're nowhere

They say the women treat you fine on Broadway
But lookin' at them just gives me the blues
'Cause how ya gonna make some time
When all you got is one thin dime
And one thin dime won't even shine your shoes

They say that I won't last too long on Broadway
I'll catch a Greyhound bus for home they all say
But they're dead wrong, I know they are
'Cause I can play this here guitar
And I won't quit till I'm a star on Broadway

Anonymous said...

sign? no problem.

illuminated sign? now its an issue.

This case is pretty clear, but people will cry about it anyway. Im sure she would have a problem if someone had a giant lit sign of a gun facing her window, she would complain.

Anonymous said...

All signs should be written in English....I think that should be a REQUIREMENT!!