South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Ordinance Prohibiting Continued Use of Existing Commercial Signs Not a Taking
Description Mississippi high court upheld the constitutionality of a city ordinance that requires business signs to meet certain specifications within five years or be removed. The regulation was reasonable and did not constitute a taking.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Fifth Amendment; Just Compensation; Taking; Zoning; Signs
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The City of Ridgeland, Mississippi, enacted a new ordinance regulating the side of on-premises business signs. Firms were given five years to come into compliance. Red Roof Inn did not come into compliance and was ordered to change its sign or take it down. Red Roof sued, contending that the zoning rule was an unconstitutional taking of property without compensation. The trial court upheld the ordinance. Red Roof appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The ordinance is not unconstitutional. There is no constitutional right to continue the pre-existing use of the sign. A regulation that diminishes the value of property, but left it with some value due to the five-year use period, does not constitute a taking that must be compensated. The five-year period to allow existing signs to be changed is a reasonable rule.

Citation Red Roof Inns, Inc. v. City of Ridgeland, 797 So.2d 898 (Sup. Ct., Miss., 2001)

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