Spanish Fork v. Evans Grader & Paving

July 31, 2014

Utah Court of Appeals

July 31, 2014

2014 UT App 178  (Click for full text of opinion)

The Utah Court of Appeals upheld a City’s action to remove a sign erected without obtaining all required approvals.  The City obtained a summary judgment (without a full trial), and the business appealed.

The business requested permission to install a billboard on its premises.  The City granted a permit for the billboard, but the permit was valid only if permission were also granted by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).  The business requested permission from UDOT, but was denied.

The business then erected the sign structure anyway, and used it to advertise itself (an “on-premise” sign), rather than another business or service.  The business reasoned that since the sign was to advertise and identify the business itself, it was not a “billboard,” as defined in LUDMA, and not subject to regulation by the City and UDOT.  The City requires permission for on-premise signs as well as billboards.  Since the proper approvals had not been granted, the City filed suit to remove the sign.

The Court upheld the summary judgment granted to the City, holding that the changed purpose of the sign was not relevant.  The business sought permission to construct a billboard, not an on-premise sign (which would have been much smaller).  Construction of any new sign was subject to the City’s regulation, and the business did not have the permission to install one.