Land Use Law & Zoning Digest
freedom of speech, outdoor advertising, local government, land use regulation
In Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego, 453 U.S. 490 (1981), 33 ZD 238, the U.S. Supreme Court, although sharply divided, held that states and municipalities could regulate signs and billboards to reduce traffic hazards and improve a community's appearance, but cautioned that regulations which imposed too many restrictions on protected First Amendment rights to freedom of speech would be struck down. The nine Supreme Court justices wrote five separate opinions in Metromedia, struggling to find a workable accommodation between free speech guarantees and the deference normally granted to a municipality's exercise of the police power.' This article, after considering the opinions written in Metromedia, focuses on the cases that have relied on that decision to judge the validity of state and municipal sign/billboard regulations, seeking to gain a better understanding of Metromedia by analyzing its application by state and federal courts.
Weinstein, Alan, "Billboards, Aesthetics, and the First Amendment: Municipal Sign Regulation after Metromedia" (1984). Law Faculty Articles and Essays. 1058.