Falmouth Considers Update to Sign Bylaw

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FALMOUTH – Officials in Falmouth are considering a plan to regulate where campaign signs may be placed in town, and specifically whether they can be put on town-owned property.

At last month’s board of selectmen’s meeting, Town Attorney Frank Duffy suggested that Falmouth review their current, 20-year-old bylaw and consider an update which would incorporate court decisions over the last two decades.

“About two years ago we had a Supreme Court case,” he said, “the court decided that when you have a by law that regulates signs by the content of the sign and they found that in certain circumstances that creates a violation of first amendment and the freedom of speech.”

Duffy called for a policy which addresses where the signs are allowed, but for how long they are permitted to remain.

Selectman Megan English-Braga agreed that it was time for an update.

“I think that it’s been 20 years since we’ve done that,” she said, “there is certainly new case law that would help us maybe craft that come up with something that is at least clear so that folks have something to refer to that delineates what it is that they’re allowed to do.”

During the meeting, selectmen suggested that they may work with area civic groups and local campaigns to ensure that the effort is completed in a non-partisan manner that works for all involved.

Officials are hopeful that a final proposal can be prepared in time to go before voters at Falmouth’s Fall Town Meeting.

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