The painted wall sign at issue in Downers Grove, Illinois. Source: CBS Local Chicago.

Last week, in a case that we reported on several years ago, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an Illinois village’s restriction on painted wall signs passes constitutional muster.  The case, which originated with a challenge by a local moving and storage company, confirms that restrictions on sign materials are generally content neutral and legally defensible.

The facts of the case can be found on our original post.  In ruling on the appeal, the Seventh Circuit confirmed that the village’s restriction on painted wall signs and the size of any wall sign are content neutral forms of regulation.  Although the village contended that the restriction in question was a commercial speech regulation and thus Central Hudson applied, the appeals court determined that whether Central Hudson or Reed applied was of no consequence.  Because the restrictions were content neutral, and because they were narrowly tailored to the village’s interests in aesthetics and traffic safety, they were sufficient to satisfy First Amendment requirements.

Leibundguth Storage & Van Service, Inc. v. Village of Downers Grove, No. 16-3055, ___ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 4629897 (7th Cir. Sept. 24, 2019).

Photo of Brian J. Connolly Brian J. Connolly

Brian Connolly represents public- and private-sector clients in matters relating to zoning, planning, development entitlements and other complex regulatory issues.  Brian’s practice encompasses a broad range of land use matters including zoning compliance, rezonings and other regulatory amendments, planned-unit developments, development agreements, private covenants and restrictions, land use and zoning litigation, initiatives and referenda associated with land use approvals, and real estate transactions.  Brian additionally specializes in the First Amendment and land use issues associated with outdoor sign and advertising regulation, and fair housing matters in local planning and zoning.