Thursday, February 01, 2007

First Amendment violation. The Village of Cold Spring has a Historic District and the Village has a section of the Village Code that requires prior Village approval for physical alterations to buildings in that District. The Village sought to enforce this provision against a resident of the District, who had placed certain signs on his property, which the Village deemed to violate the Code. The resident sought an injunction, enjoining enforcement of that provision (and other provisions). The District Court held that the section was content-neutral and left open to the resident ample alternative channels of communication and therefore did not violate the First or the Fourteenth Amendments.

On appeal, the Second Circuit reversed, finding the section to be an unlawful prior restraint, which acted to freeze the speech of the residents of the Historical District who wish to use signs to convey messages, at least for the time it takes them to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness.

The decision in Lusk v. Village of Cold Spring can be found here.

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