Michigan High Court Looks at Woman's Right to Post Yard Sign

January 19, 1999 12:00 am

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Tuesday, January 19, 1999

DETROIT–The state Supreme court will hear argument tomorrow in the case of a Rochester Hills woman who was ticketed by the town for advertising her home business with a yard sign.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has represented Edna Shultz through the state judicial system, won a unanimous Court of Appeals decision in July on First Amendment grounds.

Edna Schultz owns a home in Rochester Hills in an area zoned for single-family residences. She operates a legal cosmetics business out of the home and advertises it with a wooden sign on the property. In 1995, she was ticketed under a city ordinance that prohibits such signs. The ordinance allows some signs, such as those advertising a house for sale, yard sales and construction, but bans others.

“Having sign ordinances to protect the neighborhood is not an unworthy goal,” said ACLU cooperating attorney Elsa Shartsis, who will argue the case before the Michigan Supreme Court.

“But the government has to show their regulation is legal and uniform. From the beginning, my client has been most reasonable. She told the city, ‘If they tell me what kind of sign to put up, I’ll just do it,’ ” Shartsis said.

The ACLU said that it stands behind any municipality’s rights to place reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on residential signs. Such restrictions often include standardization of sign size and distance from a road.

A decision in the case, City of Rochester Hills v. Edna Shultz, is not expected until this spring at the earliest.

See the ACLU’s previous news release on the case at /news/n062597e.html

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