Regulating Signs and Billboards: Siting Issues, Environmental Concerns and Revenue Sharing Opportunities

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

Conducted on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Recorded event now available

Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to local government attorneys for grappling with complex policy choices and legal issues regarding the regulation of signs and billboards. The panel will review the latest court decisions and legal implications of regulating signs and billboards through local ordinances and policies, and offer suggestions for dealing with dynamic signs and billboards.


As businesses and billboard companies seek expanded rights to use digital signs, opposition persists from environmental and scenic preservation groups, as well as traffic and safety organizations.

Outdated zoning codes provide little or no guidance applicable to today’s rapidly advancing sign technologies, and raise important questions for government agencies, including the distraction potential for signs that interact with drivers in real time.

Courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court in Reed v. Town of Gilbert—continue to grapple with the extent to which local governments can restrict digital and traditional signage without violating the free speech protections granted under the First Amendment. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of digital billboards in Sept. 2016 in E&J Equities v. Board of Adj. of Franklin Tp., as did the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Scenic America v. U.S. Dept. of Transp.

Counsel to local governments, businesses, and 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 our authoritative panel analyzes the legal implications of sign ordinances and policies, examines the latest research findings, and outlines best practices for regulating signs and billboards. The panel 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 zoning district


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the issues counsel to local governments must consider in determining whether an ordinance regulating billboards and signs is lawful?
  • What types of restrictions can local governments impose on signs and billboards?


Coffey, Katharine
Katharine A. Coffey

Day Pitney

Ms. Coffey assists clients with commercial and multi-family development and redevelopment, including land use and...  |  Read More

Stracco, Christopher John
Christopher John Stracco

Day Pitney

Mr. Stracco practices in the areas of real estate, property, and general commercial litigation, including zoning, land...  |  Read More