Daniel Greenberg pauses with his daughter Nina, 7, at the sign that a Sylvania zoning official ordered him to remove. Mr. Greenberg has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Toledo saying the ordinance violates his First Amendment free speech rights. The sign is to remain until a hearing Monday.
Daniel Greenberg has posted political signs in the yard of his Sylvania home numerous times, so he was stunned when a city zoning official came to his door last week to tell him he had to remove his Obama/Biden sign or face a criminal citation.The city's sign ordinance prohibits any yard signs from being posted more than 70 days before an event -- in this case, the general election in November, Zoning Administrator Robert Oberly told him. The penalty for violating the rule: up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
"My first thought was, I don't want to have any trouble. I didn't want to create any issues," Mr. Greenberg said, explaining that he initially took the sign down. "When I read the zoning ordinance and saw how restrictive it is on all things -- whether it's a sign for your church or a sign for political reasons -- it upset me that it was so restrictive."
He promptly put the sign back in his yard and soon found a warning from the city posted on his front door: Take the sign down within 48 hours or else.