The Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed this situation in A Committee For A Better Twin Rivers, v. Twin Rivers Homeowners’ Association. In the Supreme Court’s decision, authored by Justice John E. Wallace, Jr., the Court determined that even in light of New Jersey’s broad interpretation of its constitutional free speech provisions, the “nature, purposes and primary use of Twin River’s property was for private purposes and did not favor a finding that the Association’s rules and regulations violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.” The Court found that “plaintiffs’ expressional activities were not unreasonably restricted” by the Association’s rules and regulations. Finally, the Court held that “the minor restrictions on plaintiffs’ expressional activities were not unreasonable or oppressive, and the Association was not acting as a municipality.”
The Twin Rivers Court found that “the Association permits expressional activities to take place on plaintiffs’ property but with some minor restrictions”. The Association must weigh the owner’s right to free speech with the Association’s right to private property and the right to promulgate reasonable rules and regulations. Any restrictions on religious signs, however, must be reasonable as to time, place and manner. For example, a Board would need to determine rules which would apply to all religious sects across the board. Furthermore, Associations should not ban mezuzuts or a cross, but could promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to a size restriction regarding religious symbols if hung on a door. In addition, we would suggest the banning of any derogatory or hate sign which would be seen as discriminatory or racial. A swastika would certainly be seen as such and should be banned. Ultimately, with regard to any common element, the Board can make reasonable restrictions.