So you wanna show support for your favorite candidate and exercise your right to free speech.  But what are the rules?  What can my sign say?  Where can I place my sign?  How big can it be?

The City of Dubuque has tried to answer these questions and more with their recent news release.  You'll find it below.  For more information or questions regarding the regulations or property line locations, please contact the City of Dubuque Planning Services Department at 563-589-4210 or planning@cityofdubuque.org.

The City of Dubuque is reminding campaigns and residents of the regulations that govern the placement of political signs. The City’s Unified Development Code (UDC) regulates all exterior signage on private property, including political signage, within the community.

Section 15-5 of the UDC defines political signs as:

  • A sign that identifies and urges support for a particular election issue, political party or candidate for public office or expresses the personal noncommercial views of the property owner or tenant.

First Amendment free speech is protected; the City of Dubuque cannot regulate the content of political signs. However, the City can legally regulate the time, manner, place, and duration of political signs. Legal regulations include, but are not limited to, limitations on the size of signs or the placement of signs for safety and visibility.

The City of Dubuque has the following regulations on political signs:

  • Political signs cannot exceed 32 square feet in area.
  • Political signs cannot be placed in any public right-of-way or visibility triangle.
  • Political signs cannot be placed on objects in the right-of-way such as trees, utility poles, and in medians.

If a sign is inadvertently placed on the public right-of-way, the City’s Public Works Department may move the sign back on to its property and attach a green slip noting the violation. The City may follow with a notice of violation letter specifying a time frame to correct any violations. The right-of-way area varies throughout the community.

Complete details, including diagrams, are available online at www.cityofdubuque.org/politicalsigns. For more information or questions regarding the regulations or property line locations, please contact the City of Dubuque Planning Services Department at 563-589-4210 or planning@cityofdubuque.org.