United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
motion of Lawrence Willson (Plaintiff) for a preliminary
injunction enjoining the City of Bel-Nor, Missouri (Bel-Nor)
came before the Court for a hearing on March 23, 2018.
Plaintiff and William Hook, the mayor pro tern of Bel-Nor,
testified. Various documents and photographs were admitted
into evidence. The Court now finds and concludes as follows.
Plaintiff is, and at all times relevant has been, a resident
of Bel-Nor and owner of a single-family residence.
There are three signs in his front yard. They are
freestanding and stake-mounted, and read: "Black Lives
Matter"; "Clinton Kaine"; and "Jason
Kander U.S. Senate." The "Black Lives Matter"
sign has been there since the unrest in Ferguson. The other
two signs have been there since the 2016 election. Plaintiff
believes these signs have a political message and wishes to
continue displaying all three.
Plaintiff received a written warning about his signs in June
2017 for a violation of Bel-Nor Code § 400.270.
September 2017, Bel-Nor enacted Ordinance No. 983, repealing
in full § 400.270. Ordinance 983, enacted after a public
hearing and codified as § 400.120(E), reads, in relevant
WHEREAS, the City of Bel-Nor wishes to
regulate signs within the City in a manner that does not
infringe upon the rights granted by the First Amendment to
the Constitution of the United States of America, but that
promotes the public safety, health and general welfare of the
City and its citizenry, and
WHEREAS, the City is cognizant of the
limitations upon the regulation of signs recognized by the
Courts, but the City has the power and obligation to its
citizens to ensure that signs are not placed and/or
maintained in a manner that is harmful to the health, safety
and welfare of the City and its citizenry, .. .
BE IT ORDAINED ... AS FOLLOWS:
1. Definitions. For purposes of this Section, the
following terms shall mean:
Sign: Any poster, object, devise, or display,
situated outdoors, which is used to advertise, identify,
display, direct or attract attention to an object, person,
institution, organization, business, product, service, event,
idea, belief or location by any means, including but not
limited to words, letters, figures, designs, symbols, colors,
logos, fixtures, cartoons or images.
2. Permitted Signs on Private Property. Each
improved parcel is allowed to post one stake-mounted
self-supporting freestanding sign with no more than two sign
faces which are directly back-to-back of one another in the
exterior portions of the property as long as the sign meets
the following requirements:
(f) No sign shall be affixed to any building, fence, tree,
gas light, lamp post, garage, basketball hoop or any
structure or improvement.
(g) No. sign shall be displayed from the interior of any
3. Prohibitions. The following materials,
appurtenances and types of signs are prohibited:
(a) The use of balloons, streamers, banners or similar
objects as part of or ...