Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Missouri High Court Rejects Church's Challenge To Signage Limits

In Antioch Community Church v. Board of Zoning Adjustment, (MO Sup. Ct., April 3, 2018), the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a zoning decision denying a Kansas City church a variance it sought so that it could retain the digital display on the sign in front of its church building. The decision focused primarily on technical interpretation of language in the Kansas City zoning ordinances regarding permissible signs in residential zones. The church, however, also raised First Amendment arguments which were rejected by the Court:
the Church’s brief on appeal notes most churches are located in residential areas and argues this means ordinances imposing limitations on signs in residential areas but not in commercial areas inherently discriminate against churches because of their location in residential areas.... Assuming for present purposes the Church were correct that an ordinance imposing additional restrictions on signs in residential areas could be considered content-based and discriminatory because churches tend to be located in residential areas, the Church did not preserve this claim.
KCUR reports on the decision. Also Court accompanied the opinion with a summary.