Ordinance Banning Billboard Extensions Ruled Unlawful

08/03/2011

Property owners opposed to a city ordinance contacted Larkin Hoffman for litigation support. The Minnesota city had attempted to enforce an ordinance banning billboard extensions and a billboard owner had challenged the ordinance in federal district court as unconstitutional and unenforceable because the city adopted it without first discussing its advantages and disadvantages. The federal district court ruled for the billboard owner, concluding that the ordinance was arbitrary and unenforceable. When the city appealed, a group of associations representing a variety of commercial interests opposed to the ordinance hired Larkin Hoffman to represent the associations in an amicus curiae capacity at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The Larkin Hoffman team of Gary Van Cleve, Peter Coyle, and Julie Nagorski argued for the associations that Minnesota law requires cities to state written reasons for all zoning decisions so that affected property owners and courts can determine whether the actions are reasonable and lawful. The Eighth Circuit decided in favor of the property owners, invalidating the ordinance and allowing billboard owners and users in the city to continue expressing creativity through the use of billboard extensions.