Cities' ability to control their streets' aesthetics may be affected by a June 18 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on content-based regulation of signage, but perhaps not as drastically as they had feared.
In Reed v. Town of Gilbert, a six-justice majority of the high court applied strict scrutiny to a local "sign code" that restricted "temporary directional signs" based on their content. However, as the American Planning Association noted, a partly overlapping group of six justices joined in more cautious concurrences that sought to moderate the effects of the main ruling. And even the majority opinion offered reassurance that "Our decision today will not prevent governments from enacting effective sign laws." >>read more
In the ongoing billboard wars that have taken place up and down the state in recent years, the advertisers have won the latest legal battle.
In Hill v. San Jose Family Housing Partners, the Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District held: (1) that a written easement for a billboard was enforceable, even if the billboard was constructed in an illegal manner; and (2) that the servient owners of a development that unreasonably interfered with the visibility of the billboard could owe the billboard owner damages for lost profits.
A City of Los Angeles ban on certain outdoor advertisements has been upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In World Wide Rush, LLC, v. City of Los Angeles the unanimous three-judge appellate panel overturned a lower court ruling in favor of companies seeking to prevent the enforcement of the signage ban.
A lawsuit challenging San Bernardino County's approval of billboards along desert freeways has been reinstated by the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The court ruled the lawsuit, filed by a county resident, need not comply with the speedy filing requirement of a state law pertaining to First Amendment matters.
A 7-year-old City of Los Angeles ordinance prohibiting new off-site signs has been upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the argument that the ban combined with a city contract permitting advertising at city-owned bus stops violated the First Amendment.
Remember the cliché about "the deal you can't refuse?" The park-for-a-billboard caper in the city of Los Angeles is just such a deal. I'll tell you about it. (Just as soon, that is, as you put that bottle back in the bag where it belongs. I have no desire to add another item to my institutional resume.)
Granted, the billboard story is hard to explain, because at bottom this deal makes so little sense.
Billboard ordinances in five cities have survived constitutional challenges, as the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal has rejected claims filed by three billboard companies. In three published decisions, the Ninth Circuit upheld billboard regulations in San Diego, Beaumont and Oakland. In unpublished memoranda, the court upheld regulations in Chula Vista and Lemon Grove.