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Suffolk Outdoor Advertising Co. v. Hulse

Citation: 8 ELR 20185
No. No. 545, 373 N.E.2d 263/43 N.Y.2d 483, (N.Y., 12/21/1977)

The New York Court of Appeals affirms the validity of a municipal zoning ordinance which bans the erection of non-accessory billboards and requires that all existing non-accessory billboards be removed within three years. The authority of the state or a subdivision thereof to enact such ordinances will be upheld where the ordinance is rationally related to the furtherance of an objective which lies within the permissible bounds of the police power. In New York, aesthetic considerations have recently but unequivocally been recognized as valid goals of the police power. Whether the statute bears a reasonable relationship to this purpose depends on the opportunity for and the duration of the extensions granted; since plaintiff failed to seek such an extension the statute will not be voided. As for plaintiff's contention that it has been deprived of First Amendment rights, the billboards subject to the ordinance are a form of commercial speech, and as such may constitutionally be regulated as to place and manner, if not content. In dissent, Judge Fuchsberg urges the elimination of the distinction between commercial and non-commercial speech, and argues that in any event the ordinance exceeds the permissible limits on the regulation of commercial speech.

Counsel for Appellants
Manley Fleishmann, Adelbert Fleischmann, Eugene A. DeNicola & Henry W. Killeen III
Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel
700 Liberty Bank Bldg., Buffalo NY 14202
(716) 856-0600

Carl W. Peterson, Jr.
Hancock, Estabrook, Ryan, Shove & Hust
14th Fl., One Mony Plaza, 100 Madison St., Syracuse NY 13202
(315) 471-3151

Counsel for Appellees
Richard E. DePetris, Emil F. DePetris
Scheinberg, Wolf, DePetris & Pruzansky
220 Roanoke Ave., P.O. Box 599, Riverhead NY 11902
(516) 727-5100