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Modjeska Sign Studios, Inc. v. Berle

Citation: 7 ELR 20259
No. No. 27853, 390 N.Y.S.2d 945/9 ERC 1765/55 A.D.2d 340, (N.Y. App. Div., 01/20/1977)

The court upholds the constitutionality of a New York statute requiring removal without compensation of billboards in Catskill Park. Plaintiff owns 96 signs, most of which are located within 660 feet of federally-aided highways passing through Catskill Park, and all of which are ineligible for permits for continued maintenance. New York is not required to follow the letter of the Federal Highway Beautification Act and pay compensation for sign removal. The state police power may accomplish the aesthetic purpose of preserving the beauty of Catskill Park by regulation and amortization without compensation. Since the value of plaintiff's signs is derived from the Catskill Park's beauty, requiring their removal to preserve that beauty is reasonable. The court dismisses as without merit plaintiff's claim that the statute violates the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, and plaintiff's civil rights.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Carl W. Peterson, Jr.
Hancock, Estabrook, Ryan, Shove & Hust
100 Madison St., Syracuse NY 13202
(315) 471-3151

Counsel for Defendant
Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General; Stanley Fishman, Susan M. Tatro, Ruth Kessler Toch, Ass't Attorneys General
State Capitol, Albany NY 12224
(518) 474-7330

Counsel for proposed Plaintiff-Intervenor
Harry W. Killeen, III
Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel
700 Liberty Bank Bldg., Buffalo NY 14202
(716) 856-0600

Before KOREMAN, P.J., and GREENBLOTT, MAHONEY, MAIN and HERLIHY, JJ.

KOREMAN, P.J., and GREENBLOTT, MAIN and HERLIHY, JJ., concur.