Doug Maustad, of rural Alcester, S.D., says he is so thoroughly upset with Union County's new zoning code, and not just the part covering political and other signs -- such as "Vote No Hyperion" and "Save Union County" -- that he'll run for the County Commission next June.
Maustad said he will run even if it means going up against fellow Republican, incumbent Milton Usted. He said it's not just the signage portion of the ordinance that he doesn't agree with. He criticizes much of it as just a boilerplate from the much more urban Lincoln County, with rules to prevent traffic jams and overcrowding, things unlikely, for now, in Union County.
"Common sense tells you, let's write a common sense law," Maustad said. "How they're gonna write it, I don't have a clue."
Maurstad credits his protest -- that being made to remove anti-Hyperion signs from his property violates the First Amendment -- for the county's announcement earlier this month that it will suspend enforcement of that particular part of the code.
State's Attorney Jerry Miller said Tuesday that doesn't mean signs will not be regulated. He said the county's planning and zoning board will work with the Southeast Council of Governments to come up with an ordinance that is "constitutionally acceptable and enforceable" to replace the parts of the ordinance that he said raise issues of constitutionality.
However Miller said, the Supreme Court has recognized government's right to regulate signs for safety. He said, for example, while small, low signs may not obstruct visibility near an intersection, a large one may, so the owner can be made to remove it.
"We won't need to start from scratch," Miller said recently. "We're looking at the enforcement portion of our sign ordinance." He said that includes the restriction of 32 square feet and the requirement that political signs be removed within five days after the election.