Statute Prohibiting Maintenance of Billboards Adjacent to Interstate Highway Is Valid as Applied to Existing Billboards- Ghaster Properties, Inc. v. Preston

In order to qualify for additional aid under the 1958 Federal-Aid Highway Program, the Ohio legislature prohibited the erection or maintenance of billboards for advertising purposes within 660 feet of an interstate highway and declared billboards in violation of the statute to be public nuisances subject to abatement. As the owner of seven signs which violated the statute, plaintiff sought an injunction against the enforcement of the statute on the ground that it bore no substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare. The trial court granted the injunction and the court of appeals affirmed, holding the statute unconstitutional as a taking of property without due process of law. On appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, held, reversed. Since the legislative determination that there is a relationship between traffic safety and billboard regulation along interstate highways is not clearly erroneous, the statute is a valid exercise of the police power. As applied to existing billboards, the statute is a general police regulation, not a zoning ordinance, and thus need not provide for nonconforming uses.