Amherst condominium residents can display political lawn signs following ACLU action

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Residents at the Hampshire Village Condominium in Amherst will be allowed to post political and other signs in support of candidates after a legal analysis by ACLU.

The rule was changed and filed Monday by the Master Deed at the Hampshire County Registry of Deeds after a legal analysis by ACLU of Massachusetts and a favorable vote by the residents.

“The right to express political opinions, particularly from one’s own home, has been a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Bill Newman, an attorney with the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Western Massachusetts office. “We deeply appreciate the Hampshire Village trustees and residents recognizing the importance of the fundamental right to speech.”

The new Hampshire Village rule states, “All Unit Owners have a right to display a non-commercial posting (e.g., a sign, flag, banner, or other decoration), including a posting of a political, religious, moral, cultural, or scientific nature, or one that otherwise contributes to the free marketplace of ideas. A posting shall not exceed twenty (20) inches by thirty (30) inches and may be placed, at the Unit Owner’s discretion, in the garden bed which is adjacent to a Unit Owner’s building, or on a Unit Owner’s front door or its frame, or in a Unit Owner’s window.”

ACLU has won similar incidents in recent years. In January 2021, the Hampshire Superior Court ordered a Belchertown condominium development to allow residents to post signs at their units, claiming free speech through the state constitution. Also in 2019, the city of Holyoke was blocked by a federal district court from prohibiting “temporary” lawn signs on private property during three months of the year and bumper stickers all year long.

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