Billboard Law Challenge Fails

Billboards on Citi Field as seen from a highway. Image Credit: Google Maps

Advertising companies sought to erect outdoor billboards in the Willets Point neighborhood. Mucho Media and other property owners in Queens’ Willets Point neighborhood sought to construct large advertising billboards on their property. For safety and aesthetic reasons, the City denied or ordered the removal of billboards in the Willets Point neighborhood. These actions were pursuant to the City’s zoning law that prohibits commercial billboards within two hundred feet of an arterial highway.

Mucho Media challenged the constitutionality of the City’s zoning laws in federal district court. Mucho Media argued that the City applied the zoning laws to non-City property owners arbitrarily and unfairly. To support their argument, Mucho Media pointed out that nearby commercial billboards and advertising signs within two hundred feet of an arterial highway were prominently displayed at Citi Field which was part of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The Citi Field billboards were not subject to the restriction because, Mucho Media alleged, the City had deliberately exempted Citi Field from the billboard restriction under the zoning law.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Engelmayer dismissed Mucho Media’s complaint. The Second Circuit affirmed. Mucho Media had failed to notice that Citi Field was not zoned by the City because Citi Field was constructed on dedicated parkland. Even though the City owned Citi Field, the State regulates its use. The State’s authorization for Citi Field had not prohibited billboards. The billboards, absent State restrictions, were legal and there had been no unlawful discrimination by the City.


(CIT) Mogul Media, Inc. v. City of New York, 744 Fed. Appx. 740 (2d Cir. 2018).


By: Young Kim (Young is a New York Law School student, Class of 2020).



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