‘Sign’ Ruling Brings Relief to NY’s Towns and Villages
May 25, 2022
On April 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising of Austin, LLC, No. 20-1029 (U.S. April 21, 2022), a case involving a First Amendment challenge to an Austin, Texas, ordinance that regulated on-premises and off-premises signs differently. The Austin case would have been significant even without considering the specific issues it raised because land use disputes rarely reach the court.
The substance of the litigation, however, has quite important practical implications for local governments in New York and, indeed, throughout the country. If the court had decided to uphold the underlying decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, municipalities very likely would have been obligated to amend their ordinances and local codes governing on-premises and off-premises signs—a complicated subject that typically involves studies, administrative and executive time, public hearings and associated attorney fees and other costs.
Reprinted with permission from New York Law Journal, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, Vol 267 – No. 100.
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