Anti-NH 2020 signs can stay |

Anti-NH 2020 signs can stay

Protest signs can stay because there’s no category regulating them in Nevada County’s sign ordinance, the county counsel decreed Friday.

In a five-page memo, County Counsel Charles McKee wove legal citations about “cause” and “political” signs and the First Amendment concerning the signs reading “No on NH 2020” and “Stop NH 2020.” The signs oppose Natural Heritage 2020, the county’s long-term resource protection program.

On March 26, Code Compliance Director Steve Brown wrote a letter to leaders of two organizations, Protect Your Property Rights and Citizens for Property Rights In Nevada County, to give them a chance to remove the signs.

“The decision to classify NH 2020 signs as election signs was made several weeks ago,” Brown’s March 26 stated.

Under the county’s sign ordinance, political signs may appear 90 days before an election but must be removed 10 days after an election. The primary election was March 5 and the signs first appeared a year and a half ago.

Drew Bedwell, founder of PYPR, shot back with a legal defense, a Supreme Court case called the City of LaDue vs. Gilleo, saying the signs could not be regulated as political signs since NH 2020 was not on a ballot.

The county’s code enforcement division cannot order the removal of signs protesting a long-range resource protection program, Natural Heritage 2020, McKee wrote in his April 26 memo.

“Our sign ordinance is found a little bit wanting in retrospect,” said Ted Gaebler, the county’s administrative officer.

McKee is not in the office this week.

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