Local News

Cary continues case against homeowner's sign

Posted May 5, 2011

— The town of Cary is taking its case against a homeowner's sign to a higher court.

Town officials said Thursday they have asked the 4th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., to hear their appeal about a sign that David Bowden painted on his house.

Bowden says he wrote the sign that read "Screwed by the town of Cary" because he blames a road project for damaging his home.

U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan has ruled that the First Amendment protects the sign.

Town officials say the sign on a 48-square-foot section of the front of Bowden's house violates community standards. Officials say Bowden could have had the words painted on as many as three smaller signs.

“There’s no question in my mind that Cary’s sign rules protect Mr. Bowden’s right to speak his mind,” Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said in a statement. “Like so many communities in North Carolina and throughout the country, our rules offer a variety of effective and appropriate alternatives for all citizens to exercise their right to free speech. The issue, simply put, is that his sign is too large."

Weinbrecht said the case has national significance because most municipalities try to regulate signs.

"Our citizens value free speech just as they value an attractive, safe community, and they count on their government to preserve and protect both," he said.

110 Comments

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  • davidgnews May 5, 2011

    Silly silly silly TOWN OF CARY. YES YOU ARE.

  • ledhead151 May 5, 2011

    "Let them fight amongst themselves over what type of grass can be planted, how many cars you can park in your driveway and what constitutes too big of a sign."

    You guys that complain about Cary need to check the ordinances of where you live. You might not have a sign ordinance as strict but I would bet you have one that restricts what can be put up. The government is the first place you call when you are selling your house but can't because of the dump next door.

  • dblackwll May 5, 2011

    And I'm sure the first thing I would do when buying a house is check to see if in 15 years the road in front of it would be widened...get real. Some of these comment are just mean spirited and nonsensical. And Yes, I do live here in Beigeville (aka Cary).

  • Proud Airman May 5, 2011

    This is ridiculous. This guy got a raw deal and is mad about it. GOOD FOR HIM letting everyone else know. It's his house (what's left of it). Leave him alone!

  • Vietnam Vet May 5, 2011

    "Sure, but if it can be proven the work damaged the property (and here it was proven, I believe), then a government with integrity would have bought it to begin with."

    Actually he's had drainage and water damage issues since long before the roadwork was done, and the Town of Cary has repeatedly offered to correct the current and pre-existing drainage issues etc. But the owner refuses to accept this and INSISTS that the town buy the house. He will not ALLOW the town to come in and make the necessary repairs. Any reasonable homeowner, without some other agenda, would accept the repair offers. The homeowner simply wants to unload the house in this depressed market and wants the town to pay top dollar for it. THE FIRST AMMENDMENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS MOTIVATION. And anyway that point has already been settled. Yes he has the right to voice his opinion but he must adhere to Cary signage standards to do it. Not grafitti!

  • mrlee34 May 5, 2011

    Good for him....the town of Cary got away with one in the Brad Cooper case today....hopefully they wont win against this man.

  • myloompa May 5, 2011

    Cheese and rice, let him spray paint whatever he wants on his stupid house and stop spending the town money on this case.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 5, 2011

    Be Nice For A Change - "Stinking extortionist."

    Please forgive me, but that vituperous statement coming from someone with the name "Be Nice For A Change" is a hoot to me.

  • joshharris73 May 5, 2011

    I certainly don't appreciate the lack of artistry in his sign but it's his house not the town of Carys. If they want the sign down they should purchase the house and take it down. Otherwise they need to keep their hands out of peoples private property.

    We shouldn't sit still when the government tries to tell us what we can and can't do with our own houses. Cary is a town, not a Home Owners association. They shouldn't be in the business of regulating a "dress code".

  • Durhamighty May 5, 2011

    For all those criticizing Mr. Bowden for not keeping up his property, prohibiting repairs offered by Cary, wanting $$, etc.
    - PLEASE LOOK at the SECOND picture of this article. It shows his house looking like it has sunk into a big sinkhole, the road has been raised so high up in front of his property! Who in the heck would want to live in that pit, with traffic racing by your second story windows?!
    I don't blame Mr. Bowden for his actions against Cary one bit! I hope the Town of Cary's arrogance loses this battle.

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