, Muskogee, OK


March 31, 2014

City should rewrite sign ban measure

The city of Muskogee should rewrite its portable sign ban.

The new ordinance should be based on a similar ordinance that has survived challenges in another Oklahoma community.

City officials have been trying to ban portable signs since 2006 after a tourism expert said they detract from the community’s appearance. The city has twice tried to craft a measure that would survive challenges from sign company owners.

Both attempts have failed.

The city has spent a lot of time, effort and money in this effort. The ordinance serves a worthy purpose and is worth pursuing, but further efforts should be modeled after some other successful effort in another community.

If the city cannot find such an example, we should consider ending the effort to curtail increasing costs and additional challenges. Let’s not throw good money after bad.

If we make the effort to rewrite the law, the city must decide if we can accomplish the effect desired and still conform with state law.

District Court Judge Thomas H. Alford, in his two-page opinion, agrees with the city of Muskogee that it has the authority to regulate signage. But that authority, Alford states, is limited by state law.

If we cannot accomplish our purpose within that framework, we need to move on to other issues.

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