Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


September 29, 2005.

GET OUTDOORS II, LLC, a Nevada Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff,

The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN HOUSTON, Magistrate Judge


[Doc. No.'s 46; 50]

I. Introduction

  Plaintiff Get Outdoors II, LLC ("Plaintiff" or "Get Outdoors") filed a complaint alleging that Defendant City of Chula Vista, California's ("Defendant" or "Chula Vista") sign ordinance is unconstitutional and should be struck down in its entirety. Plaintiff applied to erect nine billboards in Chula Vista and argues that "[because] of the substantial constitutional defects contained in the sign ordinance, this Court should exercise its equitable powers and order the City to allow Get Outdoors to erect its signs." Plaintiff's Mem. of Points & Authorities in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment ("Pl. Mot."), p. 1. Chula Vista argues that its sign ordinance is constitutional under both Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent. However, Chula Vista urges the Court to grant summary judgment on grounds that Plaintiff's suit is now moot and that Plaintiff lacks standing. Following initiation of this lawsuit, Chula Vista enacted urgency legislation and later enacted a permanent change to its sign ordinance. Significantly, Chula Vista added (1) a "message substitution clause" that permits noncommercial speech on any sign currently displaying commercial speech in Chula Vista; and (2) new text which restates the ban on new billboards.

  The parties each now move for summary judgment. The Court has entertained extensive briefing on the issues and for the reasons set forth below GRANTS Chula Vista's motion for summary judgment and DENIES Plaintiff's motion for summary adjudication.

  II. Factual Background

  Get Outdoors seeks to post signs in Chula Vista for the purpose of communicating commercial and noncommercial messages regarding products, services, ideas, candidates, issues, events, and other topics. Declaration of W. Benham, ¶ 3 (attached to Plaintiff's Lodgment in Support of its motion for preliminary injunction). On June 5, 2003, Get Outdoors, through William Benham, presented to Chula Vista applications for nine new billboards. John Schmitz' Declaration, ¶ 6. On July 1, 2003, Chula Vista Principal Planner John Schmitz sent letters to Get Outdoors informing Get Outdoors that its applications were incomplete. Schmitz' Decl., ¶ 8. According to Mr. Schmitz, Chula Vista has not received any supplemental information from Get Outdoors. Id.

  On July 8, 2003, the City of Chula Vista adopted revisions to chapter 19 of the Chula Vista Zoning and Specific Plans (sometimes referred to as the "sign ordinance"), as an urgency ordinance. The Chula Vista City Council also adopted the same revisions by the standard method (i.e. introduction at one meeting, second reading at next meeting, effective date 30 days later). The new sign ordinance contains a "message substitution" provision that provides: Subject to the land owner's consent, a noncommercial message of any type may be substituted for any duly permitted or allowed commercial message or any duly permitted or allowed noncommercial message; provided, that the sign structure or mounting device is legal without consideration of message content. Such substitution of message may be made without any additional approval or permitting. This provision prevails over any more specific provision to the contrary within this chapter. The purpose of this provision is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech over noncommercial speech, or favoring of any particular noncommercial message over any other noncommercial message. This provision does not create a right to increase the total amount of signage on a parcel, nor does it affect the requirement that a sign structure or mounting device be properly permitted.

 Chula Vista, CA., Municipal Code 19.60.050.C. On July 28, 2003, Plaintiff filed its original complaint. On August 26, 2003, Chula Vista City Council approved a resolution setting policies for signs on city-owned property and approved on second reading the text for the new sign ordinance. On September 25, 2003, the new sign ordinance took effect.

  III. Procedural Background

  On September 19, 2003, Plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. On February 12, 2004, this Court filed an Order denying Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. Get Outdoors and Defendant have each filed motions for summary judgment in this case. On February 3, 2005, the Court took the parties' cross-motions under submission without oral argument. Thereafter, both parties filed numerous notices of subsequent legal authority, each of which the Court has considered.

  IV. Discussion

  Plaintiff moves for partial summary judgment on the grounds that Chula Vista was enforcing unconstitutional restrictions on signs at the time Plaintiff submitted nine sign applications and that Chula Vista should be ordered to allow the signs to be posted. Plaintiff argues that it has standing to challenge Chula Vista's sign ordinance based on the Supreme Court's decision in Metromedia v. City of San Diego, 453 U.S. 490 (1981). Pl's Mot., p. 4. Chula Vista also moves for summary judgment. Chula Vista argues that it is entitled to summary judgment on grounds that (1) the case is moot because Chula Vista enacted a new sign ordinance and the one Plaintiff applied under is no longer in effect; (2) a ban on new billboards is constitutional; ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.