Harter vetoes sign ordinance - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATED: Harter vetoes sign ordinance

Posted: Updated: Sep 18, 2012 08:54 PM

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Mayor Matt Harter vetoed the city's new sign ordinance Tuesday.

He said the Sign Ordinance Review Committee, which crafted the new regulations, overstepped its boundaries.

"This is really a matter of property owners' rights," Harter said. "If someone owns a piece of property it's up to them what they want to do with that property. For example it's up to them if they want to put up a building, or make improvements to it or put up signage."

The new ordinance limits the height of on premise signs to 14 feet, and requires any electronic signs to be approved by the city.

It also bans animation and interactivity on electronic signs.

Harter indicated he supports that part.

"We in the public sector are entrusted with ensuring public safety and a number of other things to keep good order in our community," the Mayor said. "So we don't want to have signs that are distracting, and attracting the attention of drivers while they're driving on the road."  

But La Crosse Council President Audrey Kader said she's sorry to see the Mayor veto a piece of legislation that came about after more than a year of work by the Sign Ordinance Review Committee.

"I think with the amount of time and effort put into this, and the amount of citizen participation we had from both sides, I think it's unfortunate that passing the ordinance is now prolonged," Kader said.

The Mayor said he does not want to see the ordinance thrown out altogether, and hopes the two sides can reach a compromise.

Kader said the Council needs 12 votes to override the veto.

Council members can opt to vote on the measure at the next full council meeting on October 11 or call a special meeting instead.   


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Mayor Matt Harter vetoes the sign ordinance passed last week by the La Crosse City Council.

Harter sent out the veto late Tuesday afternoon.

In his veto, the Mayor says "this ordinance reaches beyond the perview of governmental responsibility."

He goes on to say that while he concurs that aesthetic improvements would come about from the ordinance, the denial of property owner rights goes beyond what he sees as the intended role of government.

The council passed the measure last Thursday 14-3.  The new ordinance requires on-premise signs in the city to be 14 feet or shorter.  Signs outside businesses would also have to be built on monuments rather than on poles.  However, businesses can request an exemption.

In order to override the Mayor's veto, the council needs 12 votes from members. 


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