- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Simple Truth Church in Nevada County, Calif., said local government authorities ordered it to tear down a sign that reads “support our troops,” else face possible fines.

County officials said the church didn’t fill out the necessary paperwork to erect the sign, a local news station reported. But while church officials understand the need to abide permit laws, they’re still hoping they can keep their sign and avoid a confrontation with zoning authorities who have threatened to tear it down.

“If we don’t do anything, they may come out and cut the sign down,” church member Bill Stokes said. “And we would have to pay for them to cut the sign down, which seems to be pretty harsh.”

Church officials are set to meet with county authorities this week and are optimistic they can strike a deal.

“It actually didn’t have anything to do with what the sign says,” Pastor Jeff Alaways told a local Fox News affiliate. “What is has to do with is it’s out of compliance with county ordinances on signage.”

Zoning authorities were alerted to the sign after some in the community complained. The sign, erected about three weeks ago to help hide a beat-up billboard, included the message for the troops, as well as a link to the church’s website and a picture of the American flag.

“We look forward to meeting with the church and getting everything legalized,” said Brian Foss, the director of the county’s planning department.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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