UPDATE ON THE CITY’S CAMPAIGN AND/OR TEMPORARY SIGNS
Recently it came to the City’s attention that its sign regulations pertaining to “political signs” may have First Amendment issues as a result of recent interpretations of sign ordinances by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Courts make a distinction between “commercial messages” (i.e., advertising for goods and services) and “noncommercial messages” (i.e., religion, politics, and the marketplace of ideas). Noncommercial messages have a higher level of First Amendment protections, which require that all varieties of noncommercial speech should be treated the same way.
On September 10, 2018, the City, by an Emergency Ordinance No. 2018- 12, amended Chapter 30, Section 30.37.20(d)(13) of the Gilroy City Code. The effect of the adopted Emergency Ordinance is that all noncommercial signs, whether they are political or election-oriented signs, are treated the same, and not be based on content.
This means that campaign and/or political signs:
(1) may be placed in yards more than 90 days prior to an election; and
(2) do not need to be removed 10 days after an election.
However, any type of sign cannot be placed in the City’s Right-of Way.