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Modjeska Sign Studios, Inc. v. Berle

Court of Appeals of New York
43 N.Y.2d 468, 402 N.Y.S.2d 359, 373 N.E.2d 255 (1977)


The state of New York enacted an ordinance that prohibits advertising signs and structures within the Catskill and Adirondack Parks, in order to preserve the parks’ natural beauty. The ordinance allowed non-complying landowners an amortization period of six and one-half years. Any pre-existing signs within the Catskill Park as of May 26, 1969 were to be removed by January 1, 1976. Modjeska Sign Studios, Inc. (Modjeska) (plaintiff) owns about 96 billboards within Catskill Park, all of which are in violation of the ordinance. Modjeska brought suit, seeking to enjoin enforcement of the ordinance on the grounds that it would constitute a taking for which compensation is required. The Special Term denied Modjeska’s motion for a preliminary injunction and granted summary judgment in favor of Berle (defendant). Both the Special Term and the Appellate Division ruled that the police power allows the legislature to require the removal of billboards without paying compensation.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Jasen, J.)

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