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City can regulate size of campaign signs, attorney says

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By David Giuliani

Las Vegas has long had an ordinance on the books regulating the size of campaign signs. But it hasn’t been enforced because a former city attorney apparently deemed in unconstitutional.

But the new city attorney, Carlos Quinones, disagrees altogether. After doing some research, he said he has found that it’s constitutional for a community to regulate campaign sign sizes.

The current ordinance prohibits signs larger than 6 square feet in residential neighborhoods and those more than 32 square feet in nonresidential zones.

But many signs much larger than 6 square feet have been posted in residential areas.

Two years ago, the city gave municipal candidates a listing of the rules for campaign signs when they filed their candidacies. But city officials later acknowledged that they hadn’t been enforcing the size regulations for some time.

Quinones said a previous city attorney had used a case in Tucumcari as the basis of his opinion. But Quinones noted that the Tucumcari ordinance was deemed unconstitutional because it required people to pay fees before they posted signs.

“We don’t have that at issue today,” the attorney said. “Our ordinance passes constitutional muster.”

Councilman Cruz Roybal criticized the city for paying an attorney to research an ordinance that the city hadn’t been enforcing except for in rights-of-way.

“I’m concerned with the cost,” he said.

Mayor Tony Marquez disagreed.

“If we have certain laws, we should be enforcing them,” the mayor said.

Councilman Andrew Feldman said he has had calls from constituents concerned about signs, saying they don’t want landscapes “littered with signs.”