Elsewhere: Court: Oakland’s billboard removal was legal Chron

A federal appeals court in San Francisco today for a second time upheld the city of Oakland’s right to ban a large advertising billboard visible from Interstate Highway 880.

The billboard was erected on East Ninth Street in 2002 by Riverside-based Outdoor Advertising Inc.

It was removed last year after the city won a nuisance lawsuit in the state court system.
In the state case, the city enforced a provision of its Municipal Code that prohibits commercial advertising signs that can be seen from freeways.

The municipal law makes an exception for a sign related to a business on the property where the sign is displayed.

In an earlier ruling in 2007, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, rejecting the advertising firm’s argument that the measure violated its constitutional free-speech rights.

The advertising company continued its federal challenge, however, contending that it had rights to seek a conditional permit under provisions of the city’s planning code.

But in today’s ruling, a three-judge panel said the planning code provisions do not override the sign ban.

The court said the Municipal Code ban that was upheld in 2007 was a “flat prohibition” on signs visible from freeways.

Alan Herson, a lawyer for Outdoor Advertising Inc., said the ruling was disappointing, but said no decision has been made on whether to appeal further.

Deputy City Attorney Christopher Kee said, “We’re very pleased that our position has finally been affirmed by the Court of Appeal.”

Kee said the Planning Code provisions under which the advertising firm sought protection have been revised since the federal lawsuit was filed in 2003.

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