WALLINGFORD — The Town Council is slated to begin discussions next week on whether to allow advertising in town athletic fields and parks.
The ordinance committee, which is made up of all Town Council members, is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening at Town Hall council chambers, after the council’s regular meeting concludes. The regular meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., and the ordinance committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m.
The proposal for ads in parks as a potential source of revenue came from the Recreation Commission.
Town Corporation Counsel Janis M. Small said Thursday that she’s still researching the issue.
When a town opens up publicly-owned land to advertisement, she said last month, town officials “can’t pick and choose the message of a sign” under the First Amendment.
The purpose of the ordinance committee meeting, Small said Thursday, is to see what’s being requested, gauge the council’s interest, and discuss her research.
“Commercial advertising (in town parks) is not allowed through our zoning regulations,” she said. “Putting that aside, it’s a very serious endeavor.”
The next step after Tuesday’s meeting would be to develop parameters within the Constitutional requirements of free speech, Small said.
“It has been brought up periodically over the years,” she said, adding the town hasn’t allowed it.
The only exceptions are athletic fields managed by the Board of Education. In 2014, the town zoning regulations were amended to allow high school athletic sponsors’ signs and banners on school fields, after being granted school board approval.
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