Marin IJ

Article Last Updated: 9/29/2005 10:21 AM
Temporary ban on permanent signs in San Anselmo

Joe Wolfcale
Marin Independent Journal

No more permanent signs will be allowed in San Anselmo until officials revise the city sign ordinance.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to slap a moratorium on sign permits pending an overhaul of regulations.

"We're trying to formulate something that really works for everyone, something that's constitutional and is fair," Town Administrator Debbie Stutsman said. "We've been struggling to revise the sign ordinance for two years now and we've gone back and forth on it."

The moratorium shelves an application for a peace mural in the works since June. The mural was proposed for Ford Greene's building at 711 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Stutsman said the moratorium won't affect the town's discussions with Greene over the controversial "freedom" sign on the west side of his building. It will be in effect for four months or longer if the council extends the ordinance.

Greene, a candidate for Town Council, said the town is singling him out.

"They're trying to revise it to maintain their ability to deal with me and maintain their control," Greene said. "They've made it very clear that's the level they want to engage. I'd prefer not to stoop to that level, but I can get down in the ditch and get dirty. There are some people out here they can't treat that way without a fight."

Greene sued the town in 2003, saying his rights to free speech were violated when police pulled down a political banner that supported a friend running for office in Fairfax.

The town then passed a new ordinance that said residents couldn't have more than one sign bigger than 6 square feet or use several small signs to make a single larger sign. The judge eventually ruled that the town could limit the size of the signs, but not the number.

Greene now has 16, 6-square-foot signs strung together as one. Two Marin County men - Dean Ongaro and John Newell - appealed a variance granted to Greene on June 20, and the Town Council upheld the appeal.

Greene planned to hoist another sign on his building yesterday. It read: "Just say 'no' to the Stepford status quo, Vote Ford Greene into San Anselmo Town Council."


Hub Law Offices 711 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, California 94960-1949 415-258-0360