If it seemed like political signs were in all the wrong places last election, it’s true—the county’s sign ordinance, like its codified noise ordinance, is unenforceable due to a court decision elsewhere.
Loudoun County regulates temporary signs differently depending on what they contain. In Loudoun’s case, temporary construction signs can be twice as tall as other temporary signs. But in 2012, the Virginia Attorney General’s office opined that any ordinance that regulates signs differently based on their content is invalid, and in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a rule in Gilbert, AZ, because it regulated political signs differently from others.
That means that, like the codified noise ordinance, although Loudoun has a rule on the books, it can’t enforce that rule.
But the Department of Planning and Zoning is on it. Staff are currently working up a new rule that will treat all temporary signage the same, regardless of what it says on the sign—just ahead of presidential campaign season.
“I think it’s very important that we move this forward now, because I’m assuming, considering it’s a presidential election year, folks might want to have signs out this fall,” said Supervisor Suzanne M. Volpe (R-Algonkian). “And I’m excited because staff believes that they can move through this quick enough so that we would have a fair ordinance.”