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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Mobile ad crackdown

  • Rolla City Council heard first reading last week of an ordinance that would make it illegal to park a car, truck or van emblazoned with company information on a city street for too long.
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  • Rolla City Council heard first reading last week of an ordinance that would make it illegal to park a car, truck or van emblazoned with company information on a city street for too long.
    The particular thorns in the side of the council and city administration are vehicles parked near the Phelps County Courthouse with information about the availability of bail and bonds.
    "Virtually mobile billboards," is the way City Administrator John Butz described the parked vehicles in his agenda commentary for the Aug. 5 meeting.
    The problem is not that vehicles have company logos or names on the sides, and Butz assured the council the ordinance will not harm commercial speech. What's a problem is parking the vehicles for extended periods of time with no intent to use them for transportation.
    "Currently it is illegal to construct or place signs/advertisement on city right-of-way or public property (including signs and utility poles), but the reference to vehicles is silent," Butz said. "In those limited cases where a vehicle is parked on city property for prolonged periods but not utilized for transportation purposes, this amendment would allow the issuance of a citation."
    Th ordinance boosts the fine for advertising on city right-of-way from $100 to $250, with the minimum fine being $25.
    Butz assured the council the ordinance would not harm political speech; during election season candidates may put their names, offices sought on party affiliation on their vehicles without fear of citation, he said.
    Also protected are vehicles parked on private property.
    Councilman J.D. Williams spoke emphatically in favor of the proposed ordinance, but at least one councilman had some misgivings.
    "It seems like too much government to me," Councilman Brian Woolley said.
    No vote was taken. That will occur after the final reading, likely to take place at the Aug. 19 council meeting.

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