The Village News: Editorials

September 1, 2014

The First Amendment vs. Village Code...  Who Wins?


EditorialThe Bellport Village Code says:

“(12) Political posters, banners, promotional devices and similar signs, not exceeding four (4) square feet in the residential districts nor sixteen (16) square feet in the business districts, providing:

a. Placement shall not exceed thirty (30) days, and a period of eleven (11) months shall elapse between the last day of one (1) period of showing and the first day of the next.

b. The names and addresses of the sponsor and the person responsible for removal are identified.“
Me, I’m a good ole’ country boy. Grew up in Queens and don’t know much about lawyerin’, but the Village Code seems simple enough to me. You can put a sign up on your lawn for no more than 30 days and then you have to take it down. Once down, you can’t put it back up for 11 months which would presumably be the next election cycle. You can’t put it up for 30 days, take it down for a day, and then put it back up for another 30 days. Simple enough, right? Well, maybe not.

At the August Village Board meeting, during the first Open To The Public session, here’s what a Village resident had to say... Click Here

Now, the Village Code and its intent seems simple enough to me, but then again, I ain’t no lawyer. On one hand you have the First Amendment Free Speech issues and on the other hand you have the Quality Of Life issues I suspect the Village Board had in mind when they created this Law or Code. In May and June for Village elections and October and November for Town, County, State, and Federal elections we expect to see residents expressing their political views on their front lawns, but do we really want to see it all over town all year round? What do you think???

I think both sides make important valid points so I’d like you to drop us a note and let us know what you think. Who’s right and who’s wrong? What kind of compromise, if any, can you suggest to solve this problem? I’m looking forward to hearing from you.



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Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick