[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of New Rochelle 5-21-1991 by Ord. No. 123-1991. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Recent court decisions have brought to the City Council's attention the fact that certain types of physical displays are deemed to be "symbolic speech" and, as such, are entitled to the same constitutional protections and safeguards and subject to the same types of regulation as verbal speech.
Physical displays have characteristics which obviously make them different in some respects from verbal speech. For example, they are generally more permanent than a person or group of people who speak and then move on. Their size can be almost limitless. If not constructed and erected properly, they can be dangerous. They can attract vandals and, particularly if placed in parks, children. One cannot tell who is responsible for their placement and removal without a mechanism for responsible persons to identify themselves.
Being aware that certain physical displays on public property are entitled to the same protections as verbal speech and also being aware that physical displays are different from verbal speech in some respects, the City Council believes that it is in the best interest of the City to have a stated set of rules regarding such displays which can be applied evenhandedly, which will encourage and provide for dissemination of ideas on public property in a manner consistent with the other uses made of the property and which will maximize the public health, safety and welfare.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PHYSICAL DISPLAY
- Shall have the plain and common meaning of those words. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the term shall include signs, posters, signboards and the like, except those which are carried by people and not placed on or affixed to the ground (except momentarily).
- PRIVATE PROPERTY
- Any person, corporation, partnership, firm or other entity, except the City of New Rochelle and its various boards, commissions, committees, departments and agencies.
- PUBLIC PROPERTY
- All streets, highways and sidewalks within the City of New Rochelle, whether public or private, and all other lands owned by or dedicated to the City of New Rochelle.
Except as otherwise specifically provided by local law, either heretofore or hereinafter enacted, no physical displays may be erected, placed or maintained on any street or sidewalk within the City of New Rochelle by private parties, except those permitted sales by merchants allowed by permit.
Physical displays may be placed on public property under the following terms and conditions:
No physical displays containing commercial advertising, soliciting funds or advertising any event, whether by a profit or nonprofit organization, shall be permitted.
The foregoing permission is hereby specifically conditioned upon compliance with all provisions of the Fire Prevention Code, Building Code, Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable laws, ordinances or regulations as well as the posting of a surety bond with reference to the prompt removal of the structure upon expiration of the permit.
Application and permit.
Any private party wishing to place a display in one of the permitted locations shall submit an application to the City Clerk in the form shown in Appendix B to this chapter containing the information requested thereon. The description of the display and the accompanying sketch or plan shall be sufficiently detailed for the Building Official to determine the structural integrity of the proposed display and how it will be anchored to the ground, if at all. The application shall be submitted at least 30 days prior to the first date the applicant is requesting to place the display on public property.
Action by Building Official.
Upon receipt of the application, the City Clerk shall forward a copy thereof to the Building Official. The Building Official shall then examine the description of the proposed display in order to determine whether the proposed display will be structurally sound and sufficiently anchored.
If the Building Official requires further information from the applicant to make the required determination, he may request the necessary information from the applicant, who shall supply it within five days of the request.
Within 15 days of receipt of all necessary information, the Building Official shall advise the City Clerk whether the proposed display, as described to him, appears to be structurally sound for its purpose and properly anchored. If the Building Official finds the display will not be structurally sound or properly anchored or if insufficient information has been submitted to him, no permit shall issue.
If the Building Official issues a positive determination, the City Clerk shall issue a permit upon the filing of an agreement by the applicant to defend, indemnify and hold the City harmless in connection with the display, in the form attached hereto as Appendix C, and an insurance certificate naming the City of New Rochelle as coinsured in connection with the display, with liability limits as set by the City Council from time to time.
Each display shall be accompanied by a sign prominently placed and readable by passersby containing letters of at least one inch, stating by whom the display has been erected and further stating that the person or organization is a private party or organization, not the City of New Rochelle.
Each display shall be erected in accordance with the description submitted to the Building Department as described above.
No display shall remain in place for more than five weeks, and the applicant shall remove it and restore the property to the condition it was in prior to its erection within said five weeks of its original placement on the site.
Any utilities used in connection with any display shall be paid for by the applicant.
Any person, firm, corporation or other entity who violates this chapter shall be subject to a fine of up to $250 per violation.
Each day a violation hereof shall continue shall be deemed a separate violation.
The penalty provided for herein shall be in addition to all other remedies available to the City, legal and equitable, in the event of a violation hereof.