A California church is battling county officials over a sign it updated with a “Save Our Troops” message.
Nevada County cited permitting issues in demanding that Simple Truth Church take down the sign, which features two banners – one with the church logo above an American flag and the troops message.
“When we leased the building, we inherited a dilapidated sign that advertised Gateway Realty, to whom we sublease part of the office,” Pastor Jeff Alaways of Simple Truth Church said in an email to The Union. “They still occupy that corner, along with us. We were told that the sign was placed there 35-plus years ago and that it has been an ‘eyesore’ for several years.”
Recently, parishioners took on the task of cleaning the grounds, painting the building and updating the old sign, Alaways told The Union.
“We, as a church, pray for our troops every Sunday and project photos of those soldiers we know who are on active duty, all of whom are from Nevada County,” Alaways said. “We also send care packages to soldiers stationed all over the world. We support our troops and thought that the banner would be fitting because folks in Nevada County have always been patriotic and support our troops.”
In a letter to church officials, Nevada County Planning Department Director Brian Foss said sign regulations require approval before changes or alterations can be made to an existing sign. The Gateway Realty sign, grandfathered in when codes were changed, was out of compliance in 2007.
The county was alerted to the sign’s new message by a complaint, according to a local CBS affiliate.
“It’s a little surprising,” church member Julia Stokes told CBS13. “All we meant to do was beautify the area, the corner, and it’s a reminder for me — for everyone that drives by — to pray for the troops. People just drive by and love it. There have been four new people come to our church because of that sign.”
If the sign isn’t removed, the county could take it down and fine the church, according to CBS 13. The church plans to meet with the county next week to try to resolve the issue and keep the sign.
Watch the report below via CBS13: