City of Clovis looking at sign ordinance to follow U.S. Constitution

New Mexico News

CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – One southeastern New Mexico town is trying to come into compliance with federal law. It involves the billboards and what a community must allow on them.

The city of Clovis met last week to discuss a revised ordinance on the signs in the city. “This chapter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the first amendment of the United States constitution, which guarantees free speech including prohibition of regulating signage based on content viewpoint or message,” said Mike Morris the mayor of Clovis.

The city’s ordinance is trying to come in compliance with the constitution and not regulate what kinds of signs can go up. Justin Howalt, Clovis city manager, said, “what the means is basically you cannot regulate signage by what can potentially be on that sign.”

The signage ordinance would also have rules based on where they are in the city. They are looking to regulate the height of signs, how long they can stay up, and what to do with them if they stay vacant.

“The reason for doing that obviously is the feel of the different zones and the aesthetics of the different zones we wanted to make sure that we were honoring and trying to make it that the property owners that live in that area or the other businesses in that area have the ability to still advertise for their business,” Howalt said.

At the meeting last week, citizens were concerned about the ordinance being a one-size-fits-all that doesn’t work. People were worried about the safety of large distracting signs. “The thing that I have the biggest concern for is one size doesn’t fit all,” one resident said.

“You know somewhere around 60 ft along the highway where people are driving fast is a lot different than where you have stoplights,” another said.

The city of Clovis is having the open comment period through next month, the council will then vote on the revised ordinance in January.

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