A national advertising company is suing Cedar Park because the city won’t allow certain types of digital signs.
The city forbids signs with electronic messages located where what they advertise is not sold, according to the lawsuit filed by Reagan National Advertising of Austin. That is a violation of the company’s freedom of speech, the lawsuit says, and Reagan National is asking for at least $100,000 in damages. The lawsuit did not specify what they were trying to advertise.
Cedar Park officials declined comment because it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, said Jennie Huerta, a city spokeswoman. The advertising company’s lawyer also did not respond to a request for comment this week.
The problem began, according to the lawsuit, when Cedar Park denied five permit applications for outdoor advertising signs that Reagan Advertising had made in March.
The company applied to construct new digital signs at 701 Brushy Creek Road and 1010 E. Whitestone Blvd. It also applied to convert existing signs at 12226 RM 620 North, 1403 West Whitestone Blvd. and 12342 RM 620 North to digital signs, the lawsuit said.
City staff sent the advertising company a letter on March 14 saying the type of signs the company was requesting were prohibited by Cedar Park’s ordinances because electronically controlled changeable message signs are not allowed if they advertise goods and services “not offered on the premises on which the sign is located,” according to the lawsuit.
It says Cedar Park does allow digital signs — under certain regulations — to be located in places where what they advertise is being sold. Since the city allows digital signs in places where the services they advertise are sold but not in locations where services they advertise are not for sale, the city is regulating signs based on what they say, the lawsuit said.
Some other cities in Williamson County have stricter sign ordinances than Cedar Park’s. Georgetown and Taylor do not allow any type of digital signs.
Round Rock and Austin also prohibit off-premise digital signs but will allow electronic messaging signs under certain circumstances — and located where they offer the advertised services.