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Local government authority to regulate billboards includes power to ban all billboards.

A city ordinance banning all outdoor advertising signs is valid when state law grants local governments unlimited authority to regulate the construction of billboards according to the Missouri Court of Appeals.

In 2005, Ad Trend, Inc. (Ad Trend) entered into a lease with GasMart USA (GasMart) to construct an outdoor advertising sign on GasMart's property in Platte City. Ad Trend then sought a municipal building permit for the structure, which the city had 90 days to consider. The proposed billboard was permissible under city regulations when Ad Trend applied for the permit; however, before 90 days had expired, the city modified its zoning code to prohibit all outdoor advertising signs. Ad Trend filed suit to force the city to issue the permit, claiming that the amended ordinance violated the Missouri Billboard Act (Act). The Act provides certain minimum regulations concerning billboard size, lighting, and spacing, and expressly permits local governments to impose more restrictive regulations. The trial court held that the city's ordinance was valid under the Act, and Ad Trend appealed.

On appeal, Ad Trend argued that the Act permits the city only to regulate the size, lighting, and spacing of billboards and not to ban their construction altogether. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the authority to impose more restrictive regulations includes the power to enact a total ban on all outdoor advertising signs. Under Ad Trend's interpretation of the statute, the city would be able to restrict billboards to the size of a postage stamp but not prohibit them altogether, according to the court. The court thus concluded that local governments had implied authority under the Act to ban all billboards and that the city's ordinance was valid. The trial court decision was affirmed.

State of Missouri ex rel. Ad Trend v. City of Platte City

Missouri Court of Appeals

May 13, 2008

2008 WL 2019592 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008)
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Title Annotation:Recent Court Decisions
Publication:Appraisal Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U4MO
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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