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Lyon County grapples with commercial signage issues

Pat Patera

A move by the Lyon County planning department to create a sign ordinance has drawn the ire of business groups and sign companies.

Last year Lyon County commissioners placed a six-month moratorium on new billboards.

Lyon County Planning Director Steve Hasson took that opportunity to present an ordinance governing signage.

Taking the viewpoint of residents,Hasson says,”Everywhere you look you see this beautiful view of desert vista, right out of the Old West.

Then suddenly you see this garish outof- scale sign.” “We oppose the ordinance because it’s so restrictive,” says Ed Peck, executive director of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The restriction of electronic reader boards, favored by casinos, is one item the chamber finds especially onerous.

Both the Dayton and Carson City area chambers as well as sign companies such as Young Electric Sign Co.

are monitoring the measure.

The commission decided to assemble a group of stakeholders to discuss the issue.

Many Lyon County residents take a strong stance in support of private property rights, says Hasson, and view signage rules as trampling on personal property rights.

“The area where you can garner the most bloodshed is signage,” he says.”One of the forces driving it is the First Amendment.

An agency must be careful about trespassing against freedom of speech.However, the courts have said commercial speech does not enjoy that level of freedom.”

Existing signage would not be affected by the new ordinance, says Hasson.

The proposed Lyon County ordinance would apply to Dayton,Mound House and other unincorporated areas.