CHAPEL HILL — The Town Council voted 5-2 Monday to continue a bus advertising policy that allows most religious and political views.
The council also voted unanimously to limit the number of ads that can run inside buses and to add clearly visible disclaimers on each bus that the town does not support the expressed opinions.
The policy came under fire in August after the Church of the Reconciliation posted an ad that supports ending U.S. aid to Israel.
Council members Matt Czajkowski and Laurin Easthom voted against continuing the policy. Council member Gene Pease was absent.
Easthom said she was concerned about how staff would determine an ad is offensive or disrespectful, and how the town would maintain a neutral viewpoint on controversial issues.
“How can you do that and not stake out an opinion?” she asked.
Czajkowski also questioned how staff could determine which ads would be allowed, and asked how that would not open up the town to costly lawsuits.
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think we can do it,” he said.
He asked the council to also vote on making the town buses a public forum that only restricts false, deceptive, misleading or disrespectful ads. The council failed to get the required five votes to pass that option.
The council vote will lift a temporary freeze on new ads instituted Oct. 24.