People v. Artrol Corp.

CourtNew York Villiage Court
Writing for the CourtHopkins
Citation325 N.Y.S.2d 800,67 Misc.2d 1087
Decision Date30 October 1971
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff, v. ARTROL CORP. et al., Defendants.

Page 800

325 N.Y.S.2d 800
67 Misc.2d 1087
PEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff,
v.
ARTROL CORP. et al., Defendants.
Village Justice Court of Ocean Beach, Suffolk County.
Oct. 30, 1971.

Page 801

[67 Misc.2d 1088] Noah L. Braunstein, Village Prosecutor, for the People.

Flower & Plotka by Richard F. Plotka, Bay Shore, for defendants.

DECISION

BENJAMIN WM. MEHLMAN, Village Justice:

These are prosecutions for violations of Article II, Sec. 4 of the Ordinances of the Village of Ocean Beach, adopted September 23, 1967, which states:

'Section 4. Signs within the Inc. Village of Ocean Beach shall not be illuminated and shall be limited in size to 1 square foot in area, including signs utilized for advertising the sale or rental of property which may be placed only on property advertised for sale

Page 802

or rental. This size limitation shall not apply to existing commercial or business uses for which the signs may not exceed four square feet in area and may be placed only on the property on which the commercial or business use occurs. Nonconforming signs may continue such nonconformity until they are destroyed, structurally altered, reconstructed, changed, or moved, but the period of such nonconformity may not exceed 2 years from the date of the enactment of this ordinance.'

Essentially the defendants' contentions are these: (1) the ordinance is unconstitutional because no public benefit has been shown; (2) the ordinance deprives the owners of a property right in the signs; (3) there is no proof that the individual defendants owned or maintained the signs in question; and (4) the ordinance is discriminatory.

The three cases were tried together. At the trial each of the defendants conceded that on the date alleged in each Information each of the respective properties had a sign or signs on top of, above, or on the roof, which exceeded four square feet in area and that some were illuminated. Defendant McGann conceded the existence of three illuminated sings on the side of the building and defendant Koller conceded an illuminated sing is in the window of the premises.

There is no question of proper, procedural enactment of the ordinance. Proofs of notice, public hearing and publication were not disputed.

Section 89, subdivision 47 of the Village Law authorizes a village to regulate and control the erection, construction and use in, upon and near streets and other public places of billboards and other advertising media. Subdivision 59 of that section permits a village to enact ordinances, not inconsistent with existing law, which shall be deemed expedient or desirable [67 Misc.2d 1089] for the good government of the village and other purposes within its police power.

The ordinance having been properly enacted both procedurally and pursuant to statutory authority, there is a presumption of its legality and constitutionality. (People v. Pagnotta, 25 N.Y.2d 333, 337, 305 N.Y.S.2d 484, 487, 253 N.E.2d 202, 205; Matter of Van Berkel v. Power, 16 N.Y.2d 37, 40, 261 N.Y.S.2d 876, 878, 209 N.E.2d 539, 540; Shepard v. Village of Skaneateles, 300 N.Y. 115, 89 N.E.2d 619) with which this Court should not readily interfere. 'The courts have frequently reiterated the rule that local authorities entrusted with the regulation of such matters and not the courts are primarily the judges of the necessities of local situations and the courts may only interfere with laws or ordinances passed or regulations adopted in pursuance of the police power where they are so arbitrary as to be palpably and unmistakably in excess of any reasonable exercise of the authority conferred'. (Boord v. Wallander, 195 Misc. 557, 559, 89 N.Y.S.2d 796,

Page 803

800, mod. 277 App.Div. 253, 98 N.Y.S.2d 1, aff'd. 302 N.Y. 890, 100 N.E.2d 177). Thus the defendants' basic contentions will be considered.

Public Benefit--Power Enact the Ordinance

In 1963 the Court of Appeals established the rule that, no matter what the law had been previously, aesthetic considerations may be taken into account by the legislative body in enacting laws. Judge, now Chief Judge Fuld, stated: 'Once it be conceded that aesthetics is a valid subject of legislative concern, the conclusion seems inescapable that reasonable legislation designed to promote that end is a valid and permissible exercise of the police power. * * * And, indeed, this view finds support in an ever increasing number of cases from other jurisdictions which recognize that aesthetic considerations alone may warrant an exercise of the police power. (citing cases.)' People v. Stover, 12 N.Y.2d 462, 467, 240 N.Y.S.2d 734, 738, 191 N.E.2d 272, 275.

A number of decisions have specifically upheld ordinances regulating the use of sings. Most persuasive is Village of Larchmont v. Sutton, 30 Misc.2d 245, 217 N.Y.S.2d 929....

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2 practice notes
  • Kuriansky v. Azam
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1991
    ...N.Y.S.2d 473; People v. Aquarium Age 2,000, Inc., 85 Misc.2d 504, 506, 380 N.Y.S.2d 545) (and local ordinances--People v. Artrol Corp., 67 Misc.2d 1087, 1092, 325 N.Y.S.2d 800; see also People v. Matherson, 64 Misc.2d 680, 683-684, 315 N.Y.S.2d 596). This court notes with interest that in M......
  • People v. Graziano, 2006 NY Slip Op 50641(U) (NY 3/29/2006), 18269/04.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (New York)
    • March 29, 2006
    ...and the property to justify imposing criminal liability upon him. See, People v. Sakow, 45 NY2d 131 (1978); People v. Artrol, 67 Misc 2d 1087 (Just. Ct., Village of Ocean Beach 1971) (Mehlman, J.), aff'd, 31 NY2d 262 (1972); In Re Kuriansky, 151 Misc 2d 176 (Sup. Ct., Kings Co. 1991) (Gerge......
2 cases
  • Kuriansky v. Azam
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1991
    ...N.Y.S.2d 473; People v. Aquarium Age 2,000, Inc., 85 Misc.2d 504, 506, 380 N.Y.S.2d 545) (and local ordinances--People v. Artrol Corp., 67 Misc.2d 1087, 1092, 325 N.Y.S.2d 800; see also People v. Matherson, 64 Misc.2d 680, 683-684, 315 N.Y.S.2d 596). This court notes with interest that in M......
  • People v. Graziano, 2006 NY Slip Op 50641(U) (NY 3/29/2006), 18269/04.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (New York)
    • March 29, 2006
    ...and the property to justify imposing criminal liability upon him. See, People v. Sakow, 45 NY2d 131 (1978); People v. Artrol, 67 Misc 2d 1087 (Just. Ct., Village of Ocean Beach 1971) (Mehlman, J.), aff'd, 31 NY2d 262 (1972); In Re Kuriansky, 151 Misc 2d 176 (Sup. Ct., Kings Co. 1991) (Gerge......

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