Encinitas looking to settle ACLU lawsuit


In an about-face, the Encinitas City Council in closed session last week directed legal counsel to pursue settlement negotiations with the local chapter of the ACLU over its lawsuit against the city’s campaign sign ordinance.

Two weeks earlier, the council gave closed session direction to defend the lawsuit.

Under city rules, property owners can’t post more than two temporary yard signs, except for 30 days before an election and three days after, when an unlimited number of signs are allowed.

The ACLU lawsuit seeks to overturn the two-sign cap, arguing it’s unconstitutional, in part because of the many federal, state and local candidates whom residents might wish to support in an election.

During the council’s Sept. 9 meeting, Mayor Kristin Gaspar reported out of closed session the council was entering into settlement negotiations. Beyond closed session reports, councilmembers don’t comment on matters under litigation.

Last year, the council approved the current ordinance with the aim of balancing free speech rights, while cutting down on litter and visual clutter.