bright neon signs in las vegas

Defensible Sign Regulations

Communities regulate the characteristics of signs to achieve multiple goals, such as limiting driver distraction, maintaining the aesthetic character of the community, and implementing aspects of related plans. This course will show participants how to draft—and adopt—sign ordinances that accomplish those purposes while conforming with the First Amendment.

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Course Info

  • Duration 8 video lessons (63 Mins)
  • Published Published
    2015
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Browse Course Chapters

  • 1. Introduction (2 mins)
  • 2. First Amendment Overview (9 mins)
  • 3. Relating Ordinances to Issues (10 mins)
  • 4. Significant Cases, Part 1 (8 mins)
  • 5. Significant Cases, Part 2 (8 mins)
  • 6. Permit Systems (7 mins)
  • 7. Let's Get Practical (10 mins)
  • 8. FAQs (5 mins)

Course Description

Communities regulate the characteristics of signs to achieve multiple goals, such as limiting driver distraction, maintaining the aesthetic character of the community, and implementing aspects of related plans. The extent and nature of such regulations, however, are limited by the First Amendment. This course will show participants how to draft—and adopt—sign ordinances that accomplish those purposes while conforming with the First Amendment. Many, if not most, local sign ordinances today include provisions that violate the Constitution, but in most cases there are ways to accomplish the same policy goals without running afoul of the Constitution. This course provides a brief overview of typical sign regulations, discusses how the First Amendment affects local sign ordinances, and, finally, recommends sign regulations that conform to Constitutional constraints. In this context, the course covers electronic message boards, more traditional forms of temporary and permanent signs, and, last but not least, flags. 

Learn these skills

  • Land Use
  • Law and Policy
  • Regulations
  • Urban Design
  • Zoning Codes

AICP CM

This course is approved for 1 AICP CM credit, including 1 Law CM credit. 

View all courses available for CM credit.

CNU-A

This course is approved for 1 CNU-A credit.

SACPLAN CPD

This course is approved for 1 SACPLAN CPD point.

Meet Your Instructor

Eric Damian Kelly

Eric Damian Kelly

Eric Damian Kelly is a lawyer and planner with more than 35 years of experience working with local governments on issues in planning and land-use regulation.

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