What the ordinance on signs Manistee and why is it so difficult to implement?

MANISTEE – They’re everywhere. No one can avoid them, and the worst criminals say: “Garage sale”. The panels are controversial in Manistee for some time.

People have complained that the panels are in the wrong place, fall in the streets and cause other problems, yet little has changed.

These people include the mayor of Manistee, Lynda Beaton, who said: “As soon as spring approaches, you’ll see a ‘garage sale’ and they will be attached to our electricity poles … I saw one the last summer (that said) “for sale by owner” on a property that was in Filer (canton) and they were almost … almost all intersections and it made me mad. “


So the question becomes, what is the order of the signs in Manistee and why is it so difficult to implement?

The director of the Manistee planning Szokola Mike says that the main reason to regulate panels in Manistee has several cases of the Supreme Court.

This includes Gilbert Reed against the county, orders in the city, grandfather clauses and some more recent cases before the Supreme Court of the USS that could again change the law regarding what is considered commercial speech and / or non-commercial.

At a working session of the municipal council Manistee March 8 Szokola made a presentation on the issue of regulation of the panels to advise the board on the type of business that should happen to write a new prescription on the panels or make changes to the existing. order.

Gilbert v. Reed County

He noted that Gilbert v. Reed County the Supreme Court of the United States in 2015 does not distinguish between commercial and non-commercial speech, which makes it difficult to apply some parts of the existing order on the panels.

“This basically means that you restrict the signs based on content,” said Szokala.

The presentation to the Board Szokola has said the following:

• Regulation should be related to the location, lighting, size, type or other unrelated content restrictions.

• The regulation is still evolving as a result of the Reed v. City of Gilbert, because the decision had broad implications. In recent months, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – including Michigan – indicated its disapproval of the distinction onsite / offsite which is commonly used to support special regulation of billboards off site.

Szokola also noted that the city should wait if it wants to rewrite parts of the current on the panels because of another case of the Supreme Court order called City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising.

In this case, an owner billboard in Austin, Texas, wanted to convert an existing billboard into a digital sign. The city of Austin said no, and continued the owner. This case will be decided by the Supreme Court this summer and could change the current guidelines to allow cities to regulate the traffic based on content.

grandfather clauses

Another problem concerns the grandfather clauses. This often refers to panels that violate the existing ordinance on signs in the zoning code, but the maintenance is allowed.

“A grandfather clause is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule HAVE acquired rights or rights acquired or have been acquired rights, “wrote Szokola in his presentation.

This goes to another concept called regulatory deductions.

According to the presentation Szokola, regulatory levies mean the following:

• Local regulations may constitute income under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
• An owner whose property is greatly devalued as a result of the adoption of local regulations can be compensated. Compensation may be granted for temporary and permanent outlets.
• Before any language restricting suppresses or calls to replace existing panels, the language must be verified by the city attorney to verify that it meets the legal requirements and not a regulatory decision.

Law enforcement, exceptions

In a word, try to regulate the signs in the city of Manistee is a “nightmare”, Szokola said. He also said that the effective implementation of an order on the signs is focused on complaints and few exceptions, unless there is a complaint, they do not regulate too signage.

Szokola said that regulation of signs Manistee is not “tight” and try to apply it could create some problems.

“A real estate company may say ‘why me bawl you … I feel targeted.’ We like to have regulations in place that is strong enough and applied before going out of regulation, “said Szokola.

Some exceptions apply, including panels that are in the grip of the US 31 corridor, the state applies and remove those signs and ask the owner to recover, according to the director of the department of public works Manistee, Jeff Mikula.

The head of the Manistee Police, Josh Glass, said the police did something similar for panels that were in the grip within the city. However, Glass also said that education is important and that people are not always aware of the regulations.

“We try to contact them and let them withdraw,” said Glass.

He said that in general, they first try to educate people and give them 24 hours to remove the panel, but often take things case by case, with the exception of signs within the right .

One thing is clear though – as the summer progresses and that political season is coming, there will probably be more signs in Manistee – and there’s a good chance they are not going anywhere anytime soon .