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Westmont and Richland Sign Dispute

Residents in both Westmont Borough and Richland Township are having conflicts with local government officials because of sign restrictions on personal property.

The American Civil Liberties Union, or A.C.L.U is involved in both cases.

Last week, we reported Westmont Borough is sending notices and fines to residents for violating the boroughs sign ordinance.

Borough officials say signs, political or not, can only be up for 30-days.

That’s something the A.C.L.U disputes.

Vic Walczak is the Pennsylvania A.C.L.U Legal Director and he told Channel 6, “The law is pretty clear and I think fairly logical. So, this is a matter both of property right and the right of free expression. I mean if you own property, if you live on the property you can put up whatever message you want on there. And you can’t be limited to thirty days.”

Walczak adds, municipalities do have fairly substantial authority but can’t take action that violates the United States or Pennsylvania Constitutions.

In Westmont, residents are getting notices due to the size of their signs as well as the period of time the signs are on property.

The A.C.L.U and residents argue it is going against their right to free speech and property rights.

Walczak says, “The government under the first amendment simply have very little latitude to tell people which messages they can and can’t put up and for how long. We did make a similar request to Richland.”

Last month, Richland Township was sending notices and removing signs on properties that were expressing concerns about a new Asphalt Plant.

He says, “We [A.C.L.U] have not gotten anymore complaints from there so I’m assuming there has been no problems.”

However, Westmont residents are still complaining to the A.C.L.U

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