Rod Watson of The Buffalo News recently published a column that details a dispute between the Village of East Aurora and the Unitarian Universalist Church of East Aurora regarding a political sign.
Attorney Barry Covert, who represented the Unitarian Universalist Church of East Aurora in this First Amendment and Zoning Law matter, spoke to Rod Watson to provide comment for his column.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of East Aurora displayed a banner outside of their church in support of Black Lives Matter. Village of East Aurora officials informed the church that the banner would have to be removed because it violated zoning rules. Specifically, the village said the sign was too large and it put the church over the limit on the number of signs it was allowed to display.
The church sought legal help to fight the village’s demands that the sign be removed. Ultimately, the Unitarian Universalist Church of East Aurora won variances from the Village of East Aurora’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which will allow the church to turn their temporary banner into a permanent sign and maintain an existing sign that bears the church’s name.
Attorney Barry Covert told Rod Watson of The Buffalo News that had this dispute gone to court, the village ordinance that limits the number of signs would have been “problematic” as a curb on political discourse. Mr. Covert went on to say “I think it is important for First Amendment purposes for any organization to be able to assert their message and engage in social discourse.”
Click here to read the full column in The Buffalo News.
If you have any questions regarding First Amendment or Zoning Law issues, click here to contact attorney Barry Covert.