Severability Saves the Sign Ordinance

Jun 7, 2023
Virginia Lawyer


Welcome to Richardson Law Firm PC, the leading authority in Law and Government. In this article, we will delve into the concept of severability and its significant role in saving the sign ordinance. Before we proceed, let's understand the importance of sign regulations and their impact on urban landscapes.

The Sign Ordinance and Its Purpose

Sign ordinances are regulations implemented by local governments to control and manage signage within their jurisdiction. These ordinances are designed to strike a balance between enabling businesses to effectively advertise and maintaining the aesthetic appeal of a community.

Understanding Sign Variations

Signs come in various shapes, sizes, and designs. Each type serves a specific purpose, be it promoting a business, providing directions, or conveying important information. Some common types of signs include:

  • Commercial Signs: These signs promote businesses, services, and products.
  • Directional Signs: These signs guide individuals to specific locations, such as parking areas, restrooms, or emergency exits.
  • Informational Signs: These signs provide valuable information, such as historical facts or safety guidelines.
  • Regulatory Signs: These signs convey specific rules or warnings, such as speed limits or no trespassing areas.

Importance of Severability

Severability, within the context of sign ordinances, refers to a provision that enables certain parts of the ordinance to remain valid even if others are deemed invalid or unenforceable. This concept is crucial for ensuring that sign regulations continue to function effectively despite legal challenges.

Safeguarding Sign Ordinances

Without a severability provision, an entire sign ordinance could be struck down as invalid if a court deems one provision to be unconstitutional or unlawful. This could lead to a lack of regulation, resulting in visual clutter or excessive signage that hampers community aesthetics.

Risks without Severability

Imagine a scenario where a city's sign ordinance is challenged in court, and a judge concludes that a specific provision violates freedom of speech rights. In the absence of severability, the entire sign ordinance would become unenforceable, leaving the city defenseless against excessive or inappropriate signage.

How Severability Works

Severability clauses, typically included in sign ordinances, declare that if any part of the ordinance is declared invalid, the remainder of the ordinance will still be enforceable. This means that even if certain provisions are deemed unconstitutional, the rest of the ordinance can continue to regulate signage effectively.

Severability provisions provide legal protection to sign ordinances by allowing policymakers to address specific issues while preserving the integrity of the overall regulatory framework.


Sign ordinances play a crucial role in maintaining the visual appeal and functionality of communities. With severability provisions, municipalities can protect their sign regulations from being completely invalidated due to a single provision being deemed unlawful. Richardson Law Firm PC emphasizes the significance of understanding severability's impact on the sustainability of sign ordinances.

If you have any questions or need legal assistance regarding sign ordinances or any other legal matters related to Law and Government, please don't hesitate to contact Richardson Law Firm PC. Our team of experts is here to provide you with professional guidance and exceptional legal services.

Carly Ruiz
I found this article to be really informative! 👍🏼 It explains the important role of severability in saving sign ordinances and how they impact urban landscapes. I now have a better understanding of the topic. Thanks for sharing this valuable insight! 😊
Nov 12, 2023
Brian Smith
👍🏼 Clear explanation!
Oct 16, 2023