Draft Sign Regulations
Through the Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. planning process, jurisdictions within Kenton County along with input from the residents and stakeholders within Kenton County, have placed an increasing emphasis on preserving the sense of place and the design of the built environment (Goal 2, Objectives A and B; Goal 4, Objectives A-D). Sign regulations are an important tool that affects a sense of place and the design of the built environment. With that in mind, there have been some important developments recently that require a new focus on sign regulations within Kenton County.
In June of 2015, in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218, 192 L. Ed. 2d 236 (U.S. 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Gilbert, Arizona, sign ordinance was unconstitutional because of the multiple distinctions that it made among signs based on their content. This unanimous decision of the Supreme Court found the town of Gilbert Arizona’s sign regulation to not be content neutral and in violation the first amendment.
In response to this decision, Planning and Development Services (PDS) is in the process of updating the sign regulations for every municipality in Kenton County. In order to make sure Kenton County’s municipalities sign regulations are lawful, PDS obtained the services of Eric Damian Kelly, a planning law expert, to review the current sign regulations and make the necessary corrections. These corrections will make sure the sign regulations within Kenton County are compliant with the constitution. PDS staff is in the process of inserting the corrected text into each of the sign regulations. This process will take about two months.
The final part of this process will be to engage public officials to make sure that there is an understanding of why these updates are necessary and the importance of making sure that every jurisdiction has sign regulations that do not infringe upon the constitutional rights of citizens and businesses to express themselves. The proposed amendments will ultimately need to be submitted as text amendments to the jurisdictions zoning ordinance, which requires each jurisdiction to independently adopt and implement the revised regulations.