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Billboards and Digital Signs: Crafting and Enforcing Local Regulations After Austin v. Reagan

Siting Issues, Environmental Concerns, and Revenue Sharing Opportunities

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will discuss the constitutional basis and limits of local regulation of signs and billboards--digital or otherwise--as well as signage zoning laws related to everything from noise to strip clubs. The panelist will also discuss the effect of City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on Apr. 21, 2022.


The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert remains the cornerstone of sign ordinance jurisprudence, under which sign displays are speech protected by the First Amendment. City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising, --U.S. -- (2022), clarified Reed, however, and rejected the view that every examination of speech or expression inherently triggers heightened First Amendment concerns.

At the same time, businesses and billboard companies have sought to expand the use of digital signs, which raises a host of issues related to safety and aesthetics. Opposition persists from environmental and scenic preservation groups, as well as traffic and safety organizations.

Counsel to local governments, businesses, traffic safety, and environmental organizations must be aware of the evolving trends in sign law and develop effective strategies for confronting the legal issues.

Listen as Andrew T. Fede, Of Counsel to Archer, analyzes the legal implications of sign ordinances and policies, examines the latest research findings, and outlines best practices for regulating signs and billboards. The panelist will discuss relevant court decisions and their implications for digital and traditional signs and billboards.



  1. Regulatory framework for regulating signs and billboards
  2. Contemporary signage technology and legal considerations
  3. Discussion of relevant case law
  4. Policymaking considerations for regulating digital signs and electronic billboards
    1. On private property
    2. On public property
    3. Revenue sharing opportunities
    4. Environmental concerns
  5. Best practices for regulating dynamic signs and billboards
    1. Complete ban
    2. Limits on text size, brightness, motion
    3. Duration rules: limiting the time of display
    4. Placement of signs
    5. Different regulations depending on the zoning district
  6. Applications of Reed to other types of law


The panelist will review these and other high priority issues:

  • What types of speech face strict and intermediate scrutiny?
  • How did Austin v. Reagan change the if you have "to read it to regulate it" rule?
  • When is signage content neutral?
  • Does the off-site/onsite distinction matter?
  • What are the alleged safety and environmental risks of digital signs and billboards?


Fede, Andrew
Andrew T. Fede

Of Counsel

Mr. Fede has more than 30 years of legal experience practicing in Hackensack, New Jersey. His practice areas including...  |  Read More

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