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South Dakota city updating sign regulations

September 16, 2018

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota city could soon see new regulations for its signs.

Mitchell city leaders are drafting updates to the city’s signage policies, The Daily Republic reported .

The regulations need to be upgraded because of new technology and a series of legal rulings, including a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that limited governmental abilities to regulate the content of signs, said City Planner Neil Putnam.

Government entities can regulate the timing, place or location of signs, and also prohibit obscene material.

“The bottom line is that you have to have compelling governmental interest,” Putnam said.

The goal of the changes is to make the code more understandable and consistent with the South Dakota Department of Transportation’s guidelines, he said.

The proposed changes would create two signage categories.

Permit signs would require city approval and would cover monument signs, freestanding signs, projection signs, off-premise billboards, electronic message centers and historic district signage.

Exempt signs wouldn’t be regulated by city code. Exempt signs include small business direction signs, drive-thru menu boards and temporary signs.

The new regulations will also seek to address abandoned and nuisance sign, though such signs may also be regulated on a case-by-case basis, Putnam said.

The City Planning Commission will likely discuss the matter at future meetings. Putnam said he also plans to take comments from residents, businesses and sign companies.

Changes to the regulations would then need to be approved by the City Council.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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