Letter from Randolf Myers 1/20/95

United States Department of the Interior


OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR
Washington, D.C. 20240

January 20, 1995

Mr. William Thomas:

This responds to your letter to Richard Robbins dated November 10, 1994, regarding whether your signs in Lafayette Park conform to National Park Service regulations. After reviewing the enclosed photographs of your signs, as currently constructed, do not comply with the regulations.

To begin with, we must note that for many years you had successfully used signs in Lafayette Park which conformed to Park Service regulations. In that regard, after reviewing assorted photographs of your signs taken from October 8, 1988 through April 28, 1991, it appears that your signs conformed to the regulations. Enclosed, as one example, is a copy of three photographs of your conforming signs taken on April 28, 1991. [1] We must also note that Concepcion Picciotto's current signs, with the exception of the flags or banners occasionally attached to her signs, also conform to Park Service regulations.

What appears to have changed is the recent alteration to the construction of your signs. Accordingly, we believe that you only need to restore the design of you signs to its earlier construction to conform to Park Service regulations.

As you know, in Lafayette Park, 36 C.F.R. 7.96(g)(5)(x)(A) prohibits structures that are not hand-carried, such as "furniture and furnishings, such as desks, chairs ... plarforms." Further, in Lafayette Park, 36 C.F.R. 7.96(g)(5)(x)(B)(2), among other restrictions, provides that signs that are non hand-carried must be:


[1 The enclosed photographs dated April 28, 1991, come from the National Park Service's Administrative Record Regarding the Lafayette Park Storage Regulation, page 00412. The photographs depicting the construction of your signs from October 8, 1988 through April 28, 1991, which are also part of the Administrative Record, were provided to you in Thomas v. Lujan, 791 F.Supp. 321 (D.D.C. 1991), aff'd (per curium) 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 4902 (D.C. Cir. January 29, 1992).]

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[N]o larger than four (4) feet in length, four (4) feet in width and
one-quarter (1/4) in thickness (exclusive of braces that are reasonable
required to meet support and safety requirements....

We believe that your signs, as currently constructed, fail to conform to the regulations. From the enclosed photographs, it appears that you constructed a raised platform which is at least six inches off the ground and which has then been attached to each sign. This raised platform is constructed by means of two by four wood, and forms a large bench capable of being used by up to three people. Further, you appear to be storing certain, unidentified, items located under this new platform. This raised platform construction exceeds that which is reasonably required, and far exceeds that which you have ever used, to brace your signs to the construction that you successfully utilized for many years and which is depeicted in the photographs of April 28, 1991.

In addition to reviewing the photographs of your signs, we took the opportunity of also reviewing photographs that were taken on January 13, 1995, of Ms. Picciotto's signs in Lafayette Park. It appears from the enclosed photographs that her signs are 4 feet by 4 feet and properly conform to Park Service regulations. We believe that the attachment of a banner or flag onto either of her signs, however, violates Park Service regulations.

While each of Ms. Picciotto's signs themselves is the proper 4 feet in length and 4 feet in width, the attachment of the banner or flag to these signs exceeds the size restrictions. Further, Park Service regulations require that signs "may not be eleveated in a manner so as to exceed a height of six (6) feet above the ground at their highest point, [and] may not be arranged or combined in a manner so to exceed the size limitations set forth in this paragraph."36 C.F.R 7.96(g)(5)(x)(B)(2).

Accordingly, the additionof the banner or flag to Ms. Picciotto's 4 feet by 4 feet signs clearly exceeds the size as well as height requirement for signs inLafayette Park. In addition, even if Ms. Picciotto possesses a demonstration permit, the National Park Service's regulations wstill apply to permittees. Section 3 of any demonstration permit clearly states: "All laws, rules and regulations applicable to the area covered by this permit remian in effect."

Ms. Picciotto, however, remains free to display her banners of flags in Lafayette Park. In Lafayette Park, 36 C.F.R. 7.96(g)(5)(x)(B)(1) states that "[h]and-carried signs are allowed regardless of size." If Ms. Picciotto hand-carries her banners or flags, instead of attaching them to her signs, no violation

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would occur.

We hope that this information is of assistance to you and request that you share this letter with Ms. Picciotto.

Sincerely,

Randolph J. Myers
Attorney
National Capital Parks

Enclosures

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