Sign draws anger from social media, but legal ‘free speech’
Over the years, there have been social media calls and complaints about various “message” boards around the city.
Among the most recent complaints was a sign in a courtyard in western Rome that refers to a sex offender living in the neighborhood with an arrow pointing at another residence. Although some residents may find such non-commercial message boards obnoxious, they are, according to regulations, legal and are considered “free speech,” the city’s chief enforcement officer said. and home inspector Mark Domenico.
The Rome city code has an entire section that deals with non-commercial message boards. Among them, according to www.municode.com:
Signs used to express non-commercial ideas and messages, which include signs advocating a public issue, recommending a candidate for public office, alerts or warnings, are permitted in all districts.
A. Non-commercial message signs may be constructed as free-standing, wall or window signs. There is no limit on the number of panels allowed.
B. Freestanding and wall mounted non-commercial message signs in residential areas are limited to 16 square feet. Non-commercial message signs in all other districts are limited to 32 square feet.
C. Non-commercial message signs mounted on windows must meet window panel coverage limits. If no coverage is specified, the limitation is 30% of the window area.
D. Freestanding non-commercial message signs must be located 5 feet from any lot line.
E. Non-commercial traffic signs placed on private property must have the permission of the owner.
F. Non-commercial message signs may not be illuminated.
G. Non-commercial message signs cannot be used as a temporary off-site sign.
According to Domenico, the sign in question located in western Rome has been inspected and meets all code requirements.
Because it falls under the category of a ‘warning’ message, “This is considered free speech, and the code allows it,” Domenico said.
As with any presidential election sign or sign for any office elected on the last polling day in November, “these signs must be removed,” he said, adding that such signs should be removed within days of an election. election. “If we (the code enforcement office) see these outside, we try to warn the owner to have them removed.