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Weir v. Rimmelin

12/28/1984

  HOLMES, J.


This appeal centers on the authority of different governmental entities to regulate outdoor advertising billboards within a municipality's corporate boundaries. The precise issue is whether a city has exclusive authority to enforce the regulations pertaining to such devices. Based on the following, we hold that where state and local regulations concerning unlawful conduct do not conflict, the state and municipality have concurrent authority under the police power to enforce their respective directives inside the corporate limits of the city.


In 1965, Congress passed the Highway Beautification Act (Section 131 et seq., Title 23, U.S. Code) in an effort to achieve uniformity in statutory provisions which forbid the maintenance of advertising structures within a specified distance from interstate highways. The Act currently provides financial incentives to states which prohibit advertising structures along interstate highways in conformance with the requirements of the federal legislation. Specifically, the Act allows a ten percent reduction in available federal highway funds if a state does not effectively control the maintenance of such advertising devices. In 1971, the Ohio General Assembly amended provisions within R.C. Chapter 5516 and in 1972, Ohio Adm. Code Chapter 5501:2-2 was promulgated to reflect the regulations contained in the Highway Beautification Act.


The city of Toledo enacted a comprehensive sign code in Chapter 1377 et seq., Title 9, Toledo Municipal Code. Appellees contend that Toledo has exclusive authority to regulate outdoor advertising within its corporate limits pursuant to Section 3, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution. Appellees rely on the line of home rule cases which permit a city to exercise its powers of local self-government in the absence of a conflicting general law enacted pursuant to the state's police power. See Hilton v. Toledo (1980), 62 Ohio St.2d 394 [16 O.O.3d 430]; Dies Electric Co. v. Akron (1980), 62 Ohio St.2d 322 [16 O.O.3d 365]; Canton v. Whitman (1975), 44 Ohio St.2d 62 [73 O.O.2d 285]; State, ex rel. Canada, v. Phillips (1958), 168 Ohio St. 191 [5 O.O.2d 481]. However, our prior cases are not precise guidelines for the issue presented as they do not grant a municipality the exclusive authority to regulate certain conduct within its boundaries.


The Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution confers a significantly high degree of sovereignty upon municipalities. Angell v. Toledo (1950), 153 Ohio St. 179 [41 O.O. 217]. However, the amendment does not provide cities the absolute power of local self-government. Whitman, supra; State, ex rel. Giovanello, v. Lowellville (1942), 139 Ohio St. 219. Where the General Assembly has enacted legislation pursuant to the state's police power which governs a statewide concern, the statute takes precedence over ordinances enacted under the home rule authority of municipalities. Clermont Environmental Reclamation Co. v. Wiederhold (1982), 2 Ohio St.3d 44; State, ex rel. Evans, v. Moore (1982), 69 Ohio St.2d 88 [23 O.O.3d 145]; Cleveland Elec. Illum. Co. v. Painesville (1968), 15 Ohio St.2d 125 [44 O.O.2d 121].


There is little doubt that the regulation of outdoor advertising along interstate and primary highways is a matter of statewide concern, and sreasonable and proper exercise of the state's police power. Ghaster Properties, Inc. v. Preston (1964), 176 Ohio St. 425 [27 O.O.2d 388]. See, also, Stuckey's Stores, Inc. v. O'Cheskey (1979), 93 N.M. 312, 600 P. 2d 258; Newman Signs, Inc. v. Hjelle (N.D. 1978), 268 N.W. 2d 741, appeal dismissed (1979), 440 U.S. 901; Natl. Advertising Co. v. State (1977), 91 N.M. 191, 571 P. 2d 1194

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