St. Paul’s Ban on Pop-Out Ads Unenforceable

     (CN) – Billboard advertisements in St. Paul, Minn., will continue to “pop out” at residents after the 8th Circuit ruled that an ordinance restricting their use is unenforceable.

     Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. sued St. Paul over a zoning ordinance prohibiting billboard extensions, a part of a graphic or word that protrudes out of the billboard’s normal rectangle outline. Clear Channel called the regulation an invalid and illegal exercise of power.
      A Minnesota federal court ruled the ordinance unenforceable because the city council had not articulated a rational basis for its action. The 8th Circuit affirmed.
     The state’s supreme court has held that a city council “must, at a minimum, have the reasons for its decision recorded or reduced to writing…” for an ordinance to withstand a legal challenge.
     The 8th Circuit implied that the ordinance could eventually be made valid. Circuit Judge Steven Colloton wrote “A refusal to remand in this situation… simply retains the status quo and allows the city to begin its legislative process anew.”
     Clear Channel’s challenge was supported by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Builders Association of Minnesota, the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, NAIOP Minnesota and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Minnesota
     Clear Channel owns 390 billboards within the St. Paul city limits.

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