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Lamar Corp. v. City of Twin Falls

Idaho Supreme Court
981 P.2d 1146 (1999)


Facts

The City of Twin Falls (City) (defendant) adopted a Comprehensive Plan (Plan) to guide development. The Plan established one street as an entry corridor into the city and encouraged aesthetically pleasing design along that corridor. Billboards were allowed only by special-use permit. Before issuing a special-use permit, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) must find that the billboards meet the criteria listed in the Twin Falls Zoning Code (TFZC) relating to traffic safety and visual impact. In 1995, Idaho Outdoor (plaintiff) applied for a special-use permit to erect a 12 by 24-foot billboard along the entry corridor. After a series of procedural ups and downs and other hearings, the P&Z staff concluded that the billboard was larger than existing signs and not harmonious with the area. Thus, P&Z denied the permit. Idaho Outdoor appealed to the City Council. The City Council denied the permit on the basis that it did not meet the TFZC visual-impact or aesthetics criteria. Idaho Outdoor appealed to district court. The district court reversed the City Council’s decision, finding that the TFZC’s aesthetic criteria contained insufficient objective and definite standards and, thus, was an unconstitutional restraint on commercial free speech. The district court then ordered the City to issue a special-use permit. The City appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kidwell, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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