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Oak Forest News

Posted on: March 14, 2019

Public Hearing: Sign Regulations

The Oak Forest Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Oak Forest will conduct a public hearing regarding the city's proposed amendments to Section 9-106, Sign Regulations, of the Zoning Ordinance on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 7:00 PM, in Council Chambers at Oak Forest City Hall.

These changes are in response to the 2015 Supreme Court decision of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, AZ. It was determined that the size, number, location, allowed time period of installation of signs, or any other means of sign regulation, cannot be based upon what the sign itself says, or from whom the sign content originates. For example, allowing a sign for a commercial business, such as a fast food restaurant, to be larger than that of a religious institution such as a church is considered content-based. Allowing the fast-food restaurant a larger sign is considered allowing the business more free speech that what the church is allowed. Therefore, the regulation is in violation of the freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court included in this decision appropriate methods with which to regulate signs, which are as follows: 

  • Size of signs, based on any of the following qualifying criteria in this list
  • Different rules between residential and non-residential property
  • Different rules for time limits of different one-time events
  • Different rules based on structural sign types, such as monument signs or wall signs
  • Illuminated or non-illuminated signs
  • Signs with fixed messages or electronic message boards
  • Different rules between public and private property
  • Different rules between on-premises and off-premises signs
  • Basing the number of signs allowed per linear feet of street frontage

The proposed amendments address the numerous content-based regulation in the current regulations. They include, without limitation, changes to size, placement, construction materials, application process, hearing process, appeal process, variations, time limit, and number limitations on exempt, temporary, and permanent signs in residential and non-residential zoning districts. Related amendments, including, without limitation, variations, and design standards, are also proposed to Article 11, Zoning Administration and Enforcement, to ensure that conflicts within the Zoning Ordinance are minimized and that its entirety is consistent with those proposed to Section 9-106. A copy of the proposed text amendments to Section 9-106, Sign Regulations, will be available on Friday, March 15, 2019, in the Agenda Center for review.

All businesses and residents desiring to appear and be heard for or against certain provisions of the proposed amendments are invited to attend.


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