Wyoming Liberty Group
Did you know that the ability of a property owner to use his property in a way the law permits is one of the most fundamental principles of private property rights? This might seem obvious, but if this ability didn’t exist it would make laws and policies about property rights irrelevant. The central principle of the rule of law is that government is bound by fixed rules announced beforehand so that citizens can foresee how government will act, and plan their affairs accordingly. Landowners are at great risk, however, if private citizens or government bureaucrats can change the rules on a case-by-case basis.
One of the important changes that the Laramie County Commission made to the 2014 PlanCheyenne Update before adopting it on Tuesday, March 11, was to strike the section entitled Design Principles for New Development. Unfortunately, that section remains in the version of PlanCheyenne adopted the previous evening by the Cheyenne City Council. The problem? That section includes the most aggressive government power-grab in the Cheyenne Unified Development Code (“UDC”).
One superb example of how individuals can protect liberty by positive public participation recently occurred when the Laramie County Commission decided to adopt a significantly amended and pared-down version of the 2014 PlanCheyenne Update.
Informed citizens put core principles to work during the PlanCheyenne Update discussion. These included voluntary participation in associations, civil conduct between private citizens and public servants, plus self-discipline and hard work. Election of officials who possessed both the core values and the work ethic to fulfill the difficult duties of the offices they now hold was a prerequisite.
• Council voted to keep restrictive regulations on political signs on private property.
• A similar sign ordinance was ruled unconstitutional in 1996.
CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Liberty Group denounces Cheyenne City Council’s vote to maintain rules imposing size, number, and time regulations on signs posted on private property, at a City Council meeting last night.
Your neighbor may not enjoy looking at the campaign sign on your front lawn, but he has no right to call in the police to make you take it down. This is a matter of settled First Amendment law:
A special respect for individual liberty in the home has long been part of our culture and our law, that principle has special resonance when the government seeks to constrain a person’s ability to speak there.” City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U.S. 43, 58, 114 S. Ct. 2038, 2047, 129 L. Ed. 2d 36 (1994)
by Boyd Wiggam, Tim Kingston
The Cheyenne City Council is expected soon to vote on an ordinance that will amend the Unified Development Code to make special provisions for election and ideological signs.
This is necessary because the current rules governing signs do not comply with the First Amendment’s Free Speech guarantee.
Councilman Dicky Shanor’s arguments in the most recent City Council meeting most accurately stated how the Constitution protects election or ideological signs more than commercial signs.
The Cheyenne City Council ignored constitutional due process and basic property rights at its October 28 meeting. By denying a property rezoning request conforming to both the comprehensive plan and the zoning designation that applies to the surrounding neighborhood, the Council demonstrated what arbitrary action by a governing body looks like. Both the U.S. Constitution and its Wyoming counterpart forbid government from acting arbitrarily.