New Legal Strategy? Latest Billboard Company Lawsuits Name Community Activists

Digital billboards challenged by community groups

The president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight (CBBB) and the heads of homeowner’s groups who challenged permits issued for digital billboards in the Westwood area have been named as parties in lawsuits filed against the city of Los Angeles by Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor.

The suits, filed last month in L.A. County Superior Court, name Dennis Hathaway, president of CBBB; Barbara Broide, president of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association, Jan Reichmann, president of the Comstock Hills Homeowners Association, and Aviv Tuchman, past president of the Westwood Homeowners Association.   The suit alleges that none of these persons were “aggrieved” by the billboards and thus had no standing to challenge the city-issued permits that allowed two conventional billboards on Westwood Blvd. to be converted to digital in 2007 and 2008.

Challenges to the permits were upheld last year by the city’s Zoning Administrator, and this year by the West L.A. Area Planning Commission after an appeal by Clear Channel and CBS.   The challenges centered upon the assertion that local zoning regulations prohibited such signs, and that the permits should have been referred to the city planning department for review to determine compliance with those regulations.

The lawsuit asks the court to overturn the planning department decision, and to permanently enjoin the city from interfering with the operation of the signs.  The lawsuits also claim that the actions of the zoning administrator and the planning commission violate the companies’ constitutional rights of free speech, equal protection, and due process.

For more see:

Commission to Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor:  Your Digital Billboard Permits Are No Good

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Dennis Hathaway

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