Lawsuit filed by church forces Gilbert to begin revising sign code - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Lawsuit filed by church forces Gilbert to begin revising sign code

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Posted: Monday, November 5, 2007 12:00 am | Updated: 5:38 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Gilbert officials have their fingers crossed that looser restrictions in the town’s temporary-sign code will end a pending federal lawsuit filed against the town last spring.

The Alliance Defense Fund, based in Scottsdale, filed a lawsuit against Gilbert in federal court on behalf of Good News Presbyterian Church in March claiming that the town was discriminating against a church wanting to post signs for prospective parishioners.

At the time, town officials denied the claims. But in May, both sides agreed to put the lawsuit on hold while the town began working to amend the code pertaining to churches and temporary signs. The town also agreed not to enforce the existing code.

“This hopefully would take care of the lawsuit,” town spokesman Greg Svelund said.

The planning commission’s Wednesday meeting will be the first step in changing the sign code. The commission can decide to follow the town staff’s recommendation to initiate the code change, which would ultimately have to be approved by the Town Council.

“That whole process, we’re looking at about three months or so,” Svelund said.

A representative of the Alliance Defense Fund could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Gilbert Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the sign-code amendment during its regular study session at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Gilbert Municipal Center, 50 E. Civic Center Drive.

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