June 1, 2012
Wisconsin

Federal lawsuit filed against Town of Morrison’s sign ordinance

By Tony Ullrich, WBAY | www.wbay.com 31 May 2012

Four residents have filed a lawsuit against the Town of Morrison over its sign ordinance. The residents say they weren’t allowed to post signs on their property opposing wind turbine projects and say the ordinance violates their First Amendment rights.

The Town of Morrison currently bans residents from posting some political and religious signs on their property. For instance, signs reading “We All Know Better Now Send Wind Developers Packing” would be in violation of the town’s ordinance.

Click here to read the ordinance (PDF format)

According to court documents, the plaintiffs say the town issued Takedown Notices to those who put up signs protesting planned wind farm projects.

They say they have a constitutional right to place those signs on their property.

“The law is quite clear that that type of blanket prohibition on that form of free expression is unconstitutional,” said Rick Esenberg, attorney for the plaintiffs.

Before filing the lawsuit two weeks ago, the plaintiffs say they tried to get the town to change its ban on the signs.

“They attempted to get the town to modify its position. The town’s response to that was literally, ‘Let someone sue us,’ so we did,” Esenberg said.

Town of Morrison attorney Steven Gillis says he was willing to work with the residents to find a solution to the sign ordinance out of court.

“Our approach to this at this juncture has been to try to focus on the present and the future and rather than the past,” Gillis said.

The lawsuit is seeking punitive and compensatory damages. A dollar amount has not been specified.


URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/06/01/federal-lawsuit-filed-against-town-of-morrisons-sign-ordinance/