Layton Amends Sign Ordinance; War-Deaths Sign Still in Violation

Layton Amends Sign Ordinance; War-Deaths Sign Still in Violation

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LAYTON, Utah (AP) -- After a 10-minute presentation by Mike Norton on signs violating the city's amended sign ordinance, the City Council agreed to increase the maximum size allowed -- but Norton's sign on the war dead would still be violation.

The council voted 4-to-1 to increase the maximum size allowed for signs in a residential yard from 20 to 24 square feet.

The last-minute change is still not enough to put Norton's 32-square-foot sign within the legal limit. His sign tallies American soldiers' deaths in Iraq.

It was not known if Norton will continue to challenge the city ordinance. Norton has said before that he is unwilling to replace the sign with a smaller one.

He has said that "happy birthday" banners and "welcome home" signs violated the size restrictions, but it was against him the city issued a violation ordinance.

The city attorney contended it was not a matter of the content of Norton's sign and City Councilman Stephen Handy maintained the ordinance was not Norton's sign.

Councilman Steve Curtis voted against the ordinance change, saying the limit should be kept at 20 square feet.

Councilman Stephen G. Handy said allowing for the larger sign size, will make it possible for larger campaign signs and holiday displays, including those of the large inflatable type.

"We recognize there are some big turkeys," City Attorney Gary Crane said referring to the inflatable holiday yard displays.

Handy said the council approved the initial ordinance unaware of that it would have banned "happy birthday" and "welcome home" banners, and he credited the passion of Norton for bringing it to the attention of city leaders.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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