The following information outlines OAAI's position on some of the most pressing regulatory issues in the outdoor advertising industry today.
Appraisal, Valuation and Just Compensation of Billboards
When government entities attempt to acquire private property including billboard structures, the methods used for appraisal and value for such an acquisition have been argued. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois opposes the acquisition of “private property” without just compensation. Alhough the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against government “taking” private property without just compensation, nevertheless, various levels of government have made attempts to avoid just compensation to land and sign owners for the removal of legal, nonconforming signs in the state of Illinois through a process called amortization. Through amortization, government allows a billboard to remain for a specified period of time, and at the end of that specified time, requires the sign owner to remove the sign at his or her own expense. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois opposes the use of amortization for the removal of legal nonconforming billboards because it forces a billboard owner who has invested large sums of money and complied with the law, to remove his or her sign without compensation for potential income or return of the investment. Because billboards are permanent structures affixed to real estate and each structure is a unique property, the revenue for each respective structure is pre-eminently location-dependent and should be compensated at its full market value as if the property is being sold. Subsequently, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois supports the use of the market value formula which is consistent with the provisions of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.
Billboard Bans and Moratoria
Billboards are subject to regulations at the federal, state and local levels that control placement, size, lighting and spacing of the structures. In Illinois, regulation requires that billboards be placed in commercial and industrial areas. Public opinion consistently shows that citizens support billboard messages when the placement of such boards are in areas that are compatible for commercial and non-commercial speech such as business and industrial areas. Both the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution make the banning of outdoor advertising unconstitutional. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois supports freedom of speech in the dissemination of information to the citizens of Illinois.
Attempts have been made to control message content on billboards. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois supports the First Amendment protection of commercial speech. However, our organization does not support the advertisement for products illegal to be sold to minors in areas in which minors congregate such as schools, churches, and playgrounds.
Permits and Fees
Illinois billboard owners pay state permit fees, user fees and licensing fees to cover the cost of maintaining regulatory and administrative compliance of the business community. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois supports fair and equitable permit and licensing fees as the basis for government to regulate the outdoor medium. However, the OAAI does not support excessive fees or discriminatory fees which could attempt to put law abiding companies out of business. Since the purpose of permit fees is to cover regulatory and administrative costs, excessive fees that are not related to regulation are considered tax. The First Amendment guarantees are violated if a tax imposes a financial impediment to suppress expression. The Fifth Amendment substantive due process clause is also violated if the tax is so arbitrary and excessive as to be confiscatory. Finally, the Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process clause is violated if a locality fails to provide a “clear and certain” remedy for a taxpayer to challenge the accuracy and legal validity of the assessment.
Source: Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)