Based on a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the City of Santa Barbara’s sign ordinance ​— ​loved by some, hated by others ​— ​may no longer pass constitutional muster. According to City Attorney Ariel Calonne, the new ruling ​— ​Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona ​— ​holds that signs cannot be regulated based on their content. The high court found that rules distinguishing between temporary signs and permanent ones, for example, could cross the allowable line. The court found merely categorizing signs differently was problematic, as was regulating signs based on political or ideological speech. In response, the City Council voted to appoint an 11-person committee to evaluate the city’s existing sign ordinance. Less clear is what happens in the meantime regarding enforcement of the current sign ordinance.


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